Israel Unveils New Laser Defense System

( Last week, Israel announced it had successfully tested its new laser missile defense system called “Iron Beam” which was designed to enhance Israel’s aerial defense systems, including the rocket-intercepting Iron Dome.

In announcing the successful test, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Thursday that the interceptions from Iron Beam are silent, invisible, and only cost about $3.50 each.

In recent testing conducted last month in the Negev Desert, the new laser system successfully intercepted mortars, anti-tank missiles, and rockets.

Israeli officials plan to deploy the system on land, in the air, and at sea. The goal is to deploy Iron Beam around Israel’s borders over the next decade to further protect the country from attacks.

While Iron Dome has been a very successful defense system for Israel, intercepting 90 percent of incoming rockets, the system is expensive to deploy. Prime Minister Bennett noted that a rocket fired from Gaza toward Israel costs only a few hundred dollars, whereas the cost to incept the rocket with Iron Dome costs tens of thousands of dollars.

Israel’s Defense Ministry released a promotional video showing Iron Beam successfully intercepting rockets, mortars, and a drone:

Prime Minister Bennett said in February that Israel would begin using Iron Beam within a year.

The country has already developed or deployed a series of defense systems designed to intercept anything from long-range missiles to short-range rockets. It has also outfitted a missile defense system on its tanks.

Last week’s announcement comes shortly before the anniversary of last year’s 11-day Israel/Gaza war when Hamas fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel.

Israel’s Iron Beam sends a clear message to Israel’s adversaries, most notably Iran.

Negotiations to restore the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran have stalled. Israel has long opposed the deal, arguing that the agreement did little to rein in Iran’s nuclear programs or its aggression in the region. Israeli officials have warned that they will unilaterally act to do what is necessary to protect the state of Israel.