Like The Herald Business Journal on Facebook!
The Herald of Everett, Washington
Boeing/Aerospace   |   Green Edition   |   Newsletter   |   Contact Us   |   Advertise   |   Subscribe     
Heraldnet.com

The top local business stories in your email

Contact Us:

Josh O'Connor
Publisher
Phone: 425-339-3007
joconnor@heraldnet.com

Jody Knoblich
General Sales Manager
Phone: 425-339-3445
Fax: 425-339-3049
jknoblich@heraldnet.com

Jim Davis
Editor
Phone: 425-339-3097
jdavis@heraldnet.com

Site address:
1800 41st Street, S-300,
Everett, WA 98203

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 930
Everett, WA 98206

HBJ RSS feeds

  • An F-16 fighter jet flies past an Israeli  Rafael Advanced Defense Systems surface-to-air missile system Friday at the Singapore Airshow.

    Joseph Nair / Associated Press

    An F-16 fighter jet flies past an Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems surface-to-air missile system Friday at the Singapore Airshow.

  • A SilkAir flight attendant walks through a Boeing 737-800 Friday after a ceremony at the Singapore Airshow. The plane is the first delivery of an orde...

    Associated Press

    A SilkAir flight attendant walks through a Boeing 737-800 Friday after a ceremony at the Singapore Airshow. The plane is the first delivery of an order of 54 Boeing 737s.

Israel reveals laser-based missile shield

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Pinterest icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY  |  COMMENTS
Associated Press
Published: Saturday, February 15, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
SINGAPORE — An Israeli state-owned arms company developing a laser-based missile shield that evokes "Star Wars" style technology says its deployment over the country is closer to becoming a reality.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said development of the system was advanced enough for the company to be comfortable with publicizing it at this week's Singapore Airshow, which is Asia's largest aerospace and defense exhibition.
The laser technology behind the missile shield called Iron Beam is not that far removed from fiction.
"It's exactly like what you see in Star Wars," said company spokesman Amit Zimmer. "You see the lasers go up so quickly like a flash and the target is finished."
Iron Beam is designed to intercept close-range drones, rockets and mortars which might not remain in the air long enough for Israel's current Iron Dome missile defense system to intercept.
Iron Dome batteries have shot down hundreds of rockets launched by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip at Israeli cities. With no peace deal in sight and also threatened by Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel wants to beef up that system and develop further protection.
Avnish Patel, an expert in military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, said Iron Beam is potentially an effective addition to Israel's defenses rather than a drastic change.
"Essentially, its military and tactical utility will be particularly useful in complementing the already proven Iron Dome system in tackling very short range threats such as rockets and mortar fire and in close quarter engagements," he said.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said test data show Iron Beam lasers are blasting away more than 90 percent of their targets. The new system can also be modified so that multiple lasers can be used to hit a target, according to the company. But officials remain tight lipped as to when and how the Iron Beam will be deployed.
Zimmer, the company spokesman, said it took 15 engineers about five years to work on the technology involving solid-state lasers. It works by shooting laser beams at targets which are heated so rapidly they disintegrate in an instant.
"It's very accurate and will help avoid collateral damage," Zimmer said at the company's booth at the airshow exhibition hall. "When you use lasers, you have an unlimited magazine."
Besides Iron Beam and Iron Dome, Israel is also developing the next phase of its Arrow system which can intercept missiles in space and the upcoming David's Sling, which shoots down short and mid-range ballistic missiles.
But some feel Israel, which gets significant funding from key ally the U.S. for missile defense capabilities, is going overboard.
Fanar Haddad, a research fellow from the Middle East Institute in Singapore, said Israeli military superiority in the region was so firmly established that Iron Beam was unlikely to change anything in the short or medium term.
"The development of another layer says more about Israeli paranoia," he said. "The possibility of a conventional attack against Israel is next to nil and there is hardly a need for five layers of missile defense systems."
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems would not comment on how much Iron Beam would cost or how much has been invested in it so far.
"It's very hard to say. We're still testing and it can be modified in many different ways," Zimmer said.
Other nations and private companies may be keen on using the laser based technology to protect against attacks.
Israel has become one of the world's leading weapons exporters. Israeli arms companies often point out that they bring with them years of firsthand experience from conflicts with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, jihadi militants in Egypt's Sinai desert and Hezbollah guerrillas.
Story tags » 737AerospaceMiddle East

CALENDAR

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

HBJ Columnists

Signs of concern with economy?

NEWSLETTER

Heraldnet.com

The top local business stories in your email

HeraldNet Classifieds