Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has unveiled its Iron Beam high-energy laser (HEL) system designed to defeat rockets, mortars, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at short ranges.
The land-based system, which was unveiled at the Singapore Airshow on 11 February, uses a pair of multi-kilowatt solid-state lasers to defeat incoming projectiles out to a range of about 2 km, a company official told IHS Jane’s .
The mobile Iron Beam battery is comprised of an air defence radar, a command and control (C2) unit, and two HEL systems, Senderovits Ezra, deputy general manager of marketing and business development at Rafael, explained. The company-supplied imagery of the truck-mounted battery shows these various components housed in ISO shipping containers, although the actual configuration of the Iron Beam would depend on the customer’s requirements.
“It is currently a truck-mounted system that is being used as a testbed, but it could just as easily be fitted to an armoured vehicle or some other configuration”, Ezra said.
Once the Iron Beam’s air defence radar (any radar will suffice, Ezra noted) acquires an incoming projectile, a thermal camera takes over the tracking until it is engaged simultaneously by two HELs. The system uses two lasers to provide the power needed to overcome atmospheric interference and physically destroy the target, which it does by focusing the beams on an area “about the size of a coin”, Ezra said.
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