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IMDEX 2023: Rafael unveils naval variant of Iron Beam DEW system

A mock-up of the naval Iron Beam system, on display at IMDEX 2023. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems unveiled a naval variant of its Iron Beam directed-energy weapon (DEW) system at the IMDEX 2023 naval exhibition held in Singapore from 3 to 5 May.

The variant is based on the land-based Iron Beam high-energy laser (HEL) system, which was unveiled at the Singapore Airshow in 2014.

A representative from Rafael who spoke to Janes at IMDEX 2023 described the naval variant as a DEW that can protect its host vessel from threats posed by unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) swarms and anti-ship missiles.

A Rafael media release issued on 2 May in the lead up to IMDEX 2023 also claims that the naval Iron Beam can intercept “short-range ballistic rockets”, in probable reference to short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs).

The pedestal-mounted system can be incorporated on various naval vessels, including smaller corvettes and offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).

When asked for further details on the weapon's performance parameters, the Rafael representative described the naval Iron Beam as a 100 KW HEL system and can intercept targets at distances of between “a few hundred yards and several kilometres”.

However, further details cannot be provided at this juncture, citing confidentiality issues with the Israeli government. The representative also declined to comment on whether the naval Iron Beam system is operational on any of the Israeli Navy's vessels.

Besides an HEL, the naval Iron Beam system incorporates a laser rangefinder, a daylight camera, and a thermal camera to assist its crew in identifying potential threats.

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