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Israel Produces 'Laser Beam' Defense Technology

Dubbed the 'Iron Beam,' laser defense system against short-range missiles draws comparison to 'Star Wars' weaponry.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 2/16/2014, 2:38 PM

Israel's Iron Dome in action
Israel's Iron Dome in action
Flash 90

The Associated Press reported Saturday that Israel has officially unveiled another cutting-edge defense system: a laser-based weapon against short-range missiles.

Dubbed the "Iron Beam," the system users fast-acting laser technology to shoot down incoming rockets at close range. 

“It’s exactly like what you see in ‘Star Wars,’ ” said Amit Zimmer, a spokesman for the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems company producing the beam, told the Associated Press. “You see the lasers go up so quickly, like a flash, and the target is finished.”

The Iron Beam is designed to take down short-range missiles too fast to be targeted by Israel's wildly successful Iron Dome system, according to the Washington Times.

The technology was designed by 15 engineers over a five-year period, according to Zimmer, and is being pushed to the forefront of the next Singapore Air Show once the project is completed. 

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is the same company working with the US to develop the David's Sling and Arrow 3 defense systems. 

Arrow 3 is designed to intercept ballistic missiles that have a longer range and higher altitude than those covered by Arrow 2. The system is another vital component of the multi-layered defense system designed to protect the State of Israel, which includes the Arrow systems, the Iron Dome, and David's Sling. Arrow 3 covers the longest range of the missiles. 

David's Sling, which Israeli television said is designed to intercept missiles fired from a distance of 50 to 250 kilometres (30 to 155 miles), is due to cover the gap between Israel's current short-range and long-range defense systems, the Iron Dome and Arrow 2; it will be operational sometime over the next year, according to the most recent reports. 

Zimmer could not confirm the exact range of Iron Beam, according to the Times. However, a military official revealed to Reuters in January that the system would be capable of super-heating warheads with a range of up to seven kilometers.