Iron Beam is an air defense system currently in development by Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It is expected to enter service with the Israel Defense Forces in 2015, the system is designed to destroy short-range rockets, artillery, and mortars too small for the Iron Dome system to intercept effectively.
This will be the first combat laser fielded for active service. Israel has the pressing need for short range defense that are too close for the Iron Dome. The US has the luxury of taking time to test lasers on navy ships, trucks and fighter planes and then fielding in a few years. Israel has testing in live combat since if the Iron beam fails the mortar would have got through anyway. Patriot anti-missile systems were also rushed into active service in early days of the Iraq conflict.
Iron Beam uses a fiber optic laser to destroy an airborne target within 4-5 seconds of firing. Whether acting as a stand-alone system or with external cueing as part of an air-defense system, a threat is detected by a surveillance system and tracked by vehicle platforms in order to engage. The main benefits of using a directed energy weapon over conventional missile interceptors are lower costs per shot, an unlimited magazine, lower operational costs, and less manpower.
Iron Beam will constitute the fifth element of Israel’s integrated air defense system:
* Arrow 2
* Arrow 3
* David’s Sling
* Iron Dome.
* Iron Beam
However, Iron Beam is also a stand-alone system
SOURCES – wikipedia, Rafael, Youtube, Mirror UK
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