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Lockheed Martin, Rafael Defense partner in ‘Iron Beam’ laser development

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Whether it’s the Russians using drones and missile barrages to attack Ukraine, or Hezbollah firing homemade rockets to attack Israel, modern militaries need to find a way to handle incoming aerial threats. However, the solution needs to be budget-friendly. Enter, the Iron Beam.

The Iron Beam was developed by Israeli manufacturer Rafael Defense Systems LTD. It’s set to be the world’s first operational ground-based high-energy laser weapons system (HELWS).

The Iron Beam currently fires a 100kw-class laser. It’s designed to engage incoming rockets, missiles, drones and mortar shells. The Iron Beam is meant to augment existing aerial defense systems, like the Iron Dome, but not fully replace them.

Earlier this month, the maker of the HIMARS system, Lockheed Martin, announced it would partner with Rafael Defense Systems to further develop the Iron Beam, and integrate the weapon into American systems.

One of the main benefits of the Iron Beam is its operational costs. One Iron Dome interceptor missile costs about $50,000. One shot from the Iron Beam is about $3.50.

However, the Iron Beam does have its limitations. It doesn’t have the same effective range as other aerial defense systems, and it’s not an instant-kill weapon. The Iron Beam’s makers tout it can engage a target at the speed of light, but it typically takes a few seconds to bring its target down. The Iron Beam also performs poorly in low-visibility situations like fog, rain or sandstorms.

Lockheed and Rafael didn’t say when the world should expect to see the Iron Beam on the battlefield, but it likely won’t take too long. Ukraine has a standing request for the high-energy weapons system once it’s operational.

WHETHER IT’S THE RUSSIANS USING DRONES AND MISSILE BARRAGES TO ATTACK UKRAINE, OR HEZBOLLAH FIRING HOME-MADE ROCKETS TO ATTACK ISRAEL MODERN MILITARIES NEED TO FIND A WAY TO HANDLE INCOMING AERIAL THREATS, BUT ON A BUDGET. ENTER, THE IRON BEAM.

DEVELOPED BY ISRAELI DEFENSE MANUFACTURER RAFAEL, THE IRON BEAM IS SET TO BE THE WORLD’S FIRST OPERTIONAL GROUND-BASED HIGH-ENERGY LASER WEAPONS SYSTEM.

THE IRON BEAM CURRENTLY FIRES A 100KW-CLASS LASER AT INCOMING ROCKETS, MISSILES, DRONES OR MORTAR SHELLS. THE IRON BEAM IS MEANT TO AUGMENT EXISTING AERIAL DEFENSE SYSTEMS, LIKE THE IRON DOME, BUT NOT FULLY REPLACE THEM.

EARLIER THIS MONTH, THE MAKER OF THE HIMARS SYSTEM, LOCKHEED MARTIN, ANNOUNCED IT WOULD PARTNER WITH RAFAEL TO FURTHER DEVELOP THE IRON BEAM, AND INTEGRATE THE WEAPON INTO AMERICAN SYSTEMS.

ONE OF THE MAIN BENEFITS OF THE IRON BEAM IS ITS OPERATIONAL COSTS. ONE IRON DOME INTERCEPTOR MISSILE COSTS ABOUT $50 THOUSAND….ONE SHOT FROM THE IRON BEAM, IS ABOUT THREE FIFTY.

YES, THAT’S RIGHT, THREE DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS.

BUT THERE ARE LIMITATIONS FOR THE IRON BEAM. IT DOESN’T HAVE THE SAME EFFECTIVE RANGE AS OTHER AERIAL DEFENSE SYSTEMS. IT’S ALSO NOT AN INSTANT-KILL WEAPON. IT MAY ENGAGE A TARGET AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT, BUT IT TYPICALLY TAKES A FEW SECONDS TO BRING IT DOWN. THE IRON BEAM ALSO PERFORMS POORLY IN LOW-VISIBILITY SITUATIONS LIKE FOG, RAIN OR SANDSTORMS.

LOCKHEED AND RAFAEL DIDN’T SAY WHEN THE WORLD SHOULD EXPECT TO SEE THE IRON BEAM ON THE BATTLEFIELD, BUT IT LIKELY WON’T TAKE TOO LONG. UKRAINE HAS A STANDING REQUEST FOR THE HIGH-ENERGY WEAPONS SYSTEM ONCE IT’S OPERATIONAL.

Whether it’s the Russians using drones and missile barrages to attack Ukraine, or Hezbollah firing homemade rockets to attack Israel, modern militaries need to find a way to handle incoming aerial threats. However, the solution needs to be budget-friendly. Enter, the Iron Beam.

The Iron Beam was developed by Israeli manufacturer Rafael Defense Systems LTD. It’s set to be the world’s first operational ground-based high-energy laser weapons system (HELWS).

The Iron Beam currently fires a 100kw-class laser. It’s designed to engage incoming rockets, missiles, drones and mortar shells. The Iron Beam is meant to augment existing aerial defense systems, like the Iron Dome, but not fully replace them.

Earlier this month, the maker of the HIMARS system, Lockheed Martin, announced it would partner with Rafael Defense Systems to further develop the Iron Beam, and integrate the weapon into American systems.

One of the main benefits of the Iron Beam is its operational costs. One Iron Dome interceptor missile costs about $50,000. One shot from the Iron Beam is about $3.50.

However, the Iron Beam does have its limitations. It doesn’t have the same effective range as other aerial defense systems, and it’s not an instant-kill weapon. The Iron Beam’s makers tout it can engage a target at the speed of light, but it typically takes a few seconds to bring its target down. The Iron Beam also performs poorly in low-visibility situations like fog, rain or sandstorms.

Lockheed and Rafael didn’t say when the world should expect to see the Iron Beam on the battlefield, but it likely won’t take too long. Ukraine has a standing request for the high-energy weapons system once it’s operational.

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