Israel to deploy protective ‘laser wall'

by Gareth Jennings & Yaakov Lappin

A high-power laser burns through a target drone during a trial of an airborne system announced in June 2021. (Israeli MoD)

Israel is to deploy a laser interception system within the next 12 months to protect itself from ground-launched and airborne threats, the government announced on 1 February.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that the laser system will first be deployed in an experimental capacity before being rolled out operationally.

“Within about a year, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will implement a laser interception system, initially experimentally and then operationally. First in the south, and then elsewhere,” Bennett said. “This will allow us, in the medium to long term, to surround Israel with a laser wall that will protect us from missiles, rockets, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and other threats, and in fact take from the enemy the strongest card it has against us.”

Prime Minister Bennett did not disclose the nature of the laser system to be employed, but Israel is known to have been working on a number of air- and ground-based solutions over several years.


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New mortar AMPV variant prototype to make exhibition debut mid-2024

by Meredith Roaten

BAE Systems demonstrated its new counter unmanned aerial systems AMPV during a live fire in Kingman, Arizona. (BAE Systems)

The newly designed 120 mm mortar variant of the Armoured Multi Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) will make its debut at the Association of the United States Army's (AUSA's) Warfighter conference in July 2024, Bill Sheehy, AMPV programme director at BAE Systems told Janes on 30 November.

BAE Systems first told Janes in September that it was delivering the prototype for Patria's 120 mm New Mortar (NEMO) and Kongsberg turret programme in January 2024. The prototype is still on track for first delivery, and the army plans to perform a live-fire demonstration at the July conference to show off its progress, Sheehy said in an interview.

The prototype represents BAE System's first official foray into broadening AMPV configurations, which the company hopes will highlight the flexibility of the platform. The turret is attached to the vehicle using the Ex-MEP (Mission Equipment Package), which can accommodate most remotely operated weapons stations.


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Portugal eyes F-35 buy

by Victor Barreira

With many of its European allies, including Norway (pictured), fielding the F-35A, Portugal is now eyeing the type also. (Royal Norwegian Air Force)

The Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II aircraft could emerge as the next combat aircraft in the inventory of the Portuguese Air Force (FAP).

The Chief of Staff of the FAP, General João Guilherme Rosado Cartaxo Alves, described the F-35A as the preferred choice to replace the Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon on 27 November.

Speaking at the SAE Media Group Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference in Lisbon, Gen Alves said the replacement process must start to prevent a loss of strategic relevance and operational credibility. He also noted that most European allies had already started the transition to the F-35.

The existing F-16AM/BM could extend its operational capability until 2030, however, with increasing levels of obsolescence, he said at the event in late November. Gen Alves confirmed that an acquisition will occur after 2030 as part of the newly established ‘Air Force 5.3' modernisation plan.


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Australia test-fires AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzer

by Kapil Kajal

An Australian Army AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzer test-fires a practice round at the Proof and Experimental Establishment in Port Wakefield. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian Army test-fired artillery rounds from an AS9 Huntsman 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzer (SPH) at the Proof and Experimental Establishment in Port Wakefield in late November, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said in a press release on 5 December.

According to the DoD, this testing – overseen by the Joint Proof and Experimental Unit (JPEU) – was aimed at showcasing the AS9 Huntsman to project stakeholders.

The service fired “hundreds of 155 mm shells” in the drill to verify the ammunition and propellant types, the DoD said.

Nicholas Windridge, master gunner warrant officer from the JPEU, said in the press release that while in-service M777s had maximum ranges of 18 to 22 km, the AS9 could potentially reach up to 60 km.


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Israel is to deploy a laser interception system within the next 12 months to protect itself from gro...

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