Israel announces laser breakthrough

10 January 2020

A computer-generated image of the ground-based air defence laser the Israelis will develop with the new technology. Source: Israel Ministry of Defense

The Israel Ministry of Defense announced on 8 January that its investment in laser technology has led to a breakthrough that paves the way for the development of weapons that "will prompt a strategic change in the defence capabilities of the state of Israel".

The MoD said the breakthrough was the result of collaboration between its Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), the companies Rafael and Elbit Systems, and academic institutions.

"These achievements were made possible by the development of electric-source laser systems in replacement of chemical laser technology," it said in its statement. "Using the new technology, the defence establishment has succeeded in precisely focusing the beam on long-range targets, including overcoming atmospheric disturbances."

"This technology enables the development of highly effective operational systems that will serve as an additional layer of defence to secure the state of Israel by air, land, and sea," it added, saying future laser weapons could intercept a variety of threats that include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), rockets, and anti-tank missiles.

The MoD announced the launch of three programmes for the further development of laser demonstrators: a ground-based system designed to complement the Iron Dome counter-rocket system, a mobile ground system for protecting personnel in the field, and an airborne system to intercept threats above cloud-cover and provide wide-area coverage.

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