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Video shows Israel testing its 'Iron Beam' air-defense system, which uses laser beams to intercept targets

Business Insider US

Israel's "Iron Beam" air-defense system uses a laser beam to intercept an airborne target.
Naftali Bennett/Twitter
  • Israel completed tests on its "Iron Beam" air-defense system on Thursday.
  • It uses high-powered laser beams to intercept airborne targets.
  • Footage shared by Israel's prime minister shows it shooting down a rocket, a mortar, and a drone.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Video shows Israel testing its brand new "Iron Beam" air-defense system, which uses high-powered laser beams to intercept enemy mortars, anti-tank missiles, and drones. Thursday marked the completion of a series of tests on the defense system following a multi-year effort to develop it, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.

Footage of the successful tests, shared by Bennett on Twitter, shows the energy-based weapons system firing beams at a rocket, a mortar, and a drone in Israel's Negev desert.

The Iron Beam uses laser beams to super-heat and, in turn, destroy airborne targets.

Bennett described the technology as the first of its kind in the world, adding: "This may sound like science fiction, but it's real."

Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem of the Israeli defense ministry's research and development said in a statement: "The laser is a game-changer thanks to its easily operated system and significant economic advantages. The Iron Beam is able to shoot down airborne targets at a cost of $3.50 (R51) per shot, Bennett said.

Israel's Iron Dome air-defense system, which uses interceptors to destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells, costs considerably more, at up to $150,000 (R2.1 million) per interception, according to The National Interest magazine.

The Israel Defense Forces are now working to achieve operational status as soon as possible, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement. 

The defense ministry said that once operational, multiple laser transmitters will be placed along Israel's borders over the next decade.

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