Israel Successfully Tests Laser Missile Interception System

'This is a historic moment, an energy weapon actually works,' says Israeli general in charge of developing the laser system dubbed 'Light Shield'

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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Israel successfully tests laser missile interception system, this month.
Israel successfully tests laser missile interception system, this month.Credit: Ariel Hermoni, Ministry of Defense
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Israel has successfully completed a series of tests involving a laser-based missile interception system.

During the tests, which were carried out over the past several weeks in southern Israel, the system accurately intercepted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's), mortars, rockets and anti-tank missiles in different scenarios.

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"We're at a historic moment in the world of weaponry," said Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem, head of the Defense Ministry’s weapons development administration, which developed the system alongside Rafael and Elbit. "For the first time, an energy weapon actually works."

Estimates are that the system, named "Light Shield," will become operational years from now. However, a battery may be deployed on the Gaza border toward the end of the year to study its capabilities and make improvements if necessary.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz next to Israel's new laser-based missile interception system, this month.Credit: Ariel Hermoni, Ministry of Defense

Laser-based interception is silent and invisible, and the cost is less than 10 shekels (about $3.50) per interception, in contrast to the Iron Dome, which costs about 170,000 shekels ($49,000) per interception and makes noise on launch.

The only laser-based military system that has been deployed anywhere in the world is one used on American ships, but it is only effective on relatively easy targets, such as rubber dinghies, and at short ranges.

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