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December 14, 2014 3:29 pm

Boeing Israel Chief Touts Laser Weapon as Alternative to Iron Dome Anti-missile Defense System (VIDEO)

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USS Ponce, LaWS battle laser in the Persian Gulf. Photo: USN.

USS Ponce, LaWS battle laser in the Persian Gulf. Photo: USN.

After the US Navy’s successful battle laser tests, a former Israeli air force chief says the system may be a more potent, faster, and less costly alternative to anti-missile arsenals like Iron Dome, Israel Defense reported.

“Laser is a multirole system – like a fighter aircraft. You can deploy it on the ground, on board an aircraft, on a Jeep or on an armored vehicle. It can intercept aircraft, missiles, artillery shells and UAVs,” according to Maj.-Gen. (res.) David Ivry, who has headed Boeing Israel since 2003.

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Ivry, who was the ninth Israel Air Force chief between 1977 and 1982, was among the original brains behind the long-range Arrow ballistic missile, which, along with the mid-range David’s Sling and short-range Iron Dome, are slated to provide the Jewish State with a tiered defense system against an estimated 100,000 rockets in the hands of Lebanon based terror group Hezbollah, not to mention Hamas in Gaza, Iran, and other non-state actors.

While Iron Dome more than proved its abilities in knocking hundreds of Hamas-fired rockets out of the sky during the summer’s Operation Protective Edge and previously, government and Defense Ministry officials are concerned that even its close-to-90 percent success rate against smaller Grads and Qassam munitions could be child’s play compared to what may lie ahead in future conflicts.

“The Iron Dome system has inherent capabilities that were not fully tested either in Pillar of Defense or in Protective Edge where, with all due respect, we were dealing with Hamas,” according to Yosi Druker, Rafael’s general manager of the Air Superiority Systems Division.

While the 735 intercepts of the Gaza rockets fired toward populated areas was a serious and sustained improvement over earlier software and hardware versions used in Pillar of Defense two years ago, officials are concerned that it still won’t be enough to successfully deal with far more massive fusillades by heavier munitions.

“In the context of Lebanon, it will be something different,” Druker said.

The Iran-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group’s massive arsenal is reportedly mostly hidden throughout south Lebanon. Its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, vowed in a recent address that the weapons would hit all of the state of Israel in a future conflict, including Tel Aviv.

“Ben-Gurion International Airport would have to be shut down from early on in the fighting against Hezbollah,” an official told Israel Hayom at the end of October. “Iron Dome won’t be able to duplicate its interception rate from Operation Protective Edge.”

Additionally, at upwards of $70,000 to even $100,000 per Tamir interceptor, it’s a costly response, and – even while the missiles are GPS-synced to only fire when the incoming munition is headed for pre-defined populated areas – may still be overwhelmed by dozens of incoming salvos of rockets, fired at once to overcome Iron Dome’s ability to track divergent targets simultaneously.

On the other hand, as Ivry noted, “under fog or heavy cloud conditions … the laser beam is distorted and becomes ineffective. These are the situations that should be complemented by Iron Dome.”

Using Israel’s gateway Ben-Gurion airport as an example, he pointed to the particular civil aviation threat, which, did, in fact, briefly shut down flights over the summer, and cause intermittent rerouting to alternate flight plans – a move which even scared off some carriers.

“You do not want anything dropping there under any circumstances. If even one rocket should hit that airport, no airline will land there. This is the place where you should deploy both the laser weapon system and the Iron Dome system,” Ivry said, pointing to the “$5,000 or less” price tag per light punch.

Comparing the divergent defense systems, Ivry noted that, “In order to shoot down Katyusha rockets from a range of 15-20 kilometers, you need a power output of 100 kilowatts. Today, with a solid-state laser, you can reach output rates of 30-40 kilowatts – depending on the manufacturing country. No one states exactly what they actually have, but it is certain that all of them have reached (output rates of) 10-15 kilowatts. So, you connect a few of those and obtain the output you need.”

Navy officials at the Office of Naval Research, said on Dec.10th that the laser weapon system (LaWS) mounted on the USS Ponce “locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality.”

Ivry noted that, “In ’96 we began developing the Nautilus as a prototype. We deployed a system in Kiryat Shmona (Israel’s northernmost city, and alongside the Lebanese border).

“It was a collection of components from different systems and its achievement was the fact that is succeeded in keeping the beam for two continuous seconds on the same point. The radar was the prototype of the radar used in the Arrow system (Green Pine). This system was not operational, but it succeeded in proving that it was feasible. That was the goal. But then they decided to put this project on hold. They thought it would be less costly to stop the rocket fire by two [IDF] divisions. In reality, the rocket fire never stopped,” Ivry said.

“If you want to shoot down a Katyusha rocket, you need to penetrate its outer shell. For this you have to keep the beam on the same point for two seconds. This is the challenge. It was proven with the Nautilus system on targets including mortar and artillery shells. You establish a connection between a radar and a self-aiming system and then you achieve results. If you have 100 kilowatt output – you will have a solution for all of the Katyusha rockets. In the USA they are in no hurry as no one fires Katyusha rockets at them. They do not face the threats Israel faces.”

“Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations,” according to Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder.

“At less than a dollar per shot, there’s no question about the value LaWS provides,” said Klunder.

Watch a clip of the laser in action against towed and airborne targets:

[iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/REHt44BuASk” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>]

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  • daniel Snart

    Use EMP bomb on any state that attack Israel!!!

  • Mickey Oberman

    The best way to deal with enemy missiles is to strike their launch sites and countries first.

    • Paul Revere

      AMEN BROTHER!

  • Jason

    I am still waiting for smart bullets.

    Dropped from the edge of space, these gps guided bullets would reach terminal velocity without any propulsion system. As they fall from the sky, they lock onto their target, and silently punch a hole through the top of the enemies head, instant death, with no collateral damage.

    Imagine the psychological effect of having your armed terrorist compatriots dropping to the ground out of nowhere. Imagine a Hamas rally in Gaza, as the terrorists are parading their long range missiles through downtown Gaza City, and all of a sudden the leader drops to the ground with a hole in his head, but nobody else in the crowd is hurt.

    Please israel, develop smart bullets

  • Wm. J. Levy

    Instead of relying on defensive weapons against the thousands of rockets Hamas fired on Israel and in the next war it won’t just be coming from the South, Israel better start using its brains.

    The next revolt will come from the PLA (PLO), Syria, Egypt, Hamas and who knows who else.

    It’s time to make the Muslims really afraid just as the world is terrified of the N. Koreans and soon-to-be Iranians nuclear weapons.

    Use it or lose it and there are Israelis who would rather see 7 million Jews die than use theirs. That indeed is the Holocaust mentality when the german Jews or the Palestinian Jews or the Jewish gangsters in the U.S. could have killed Hitler in the 1920’s.

    Jews have forgotten how to survive. Take a good lesson from Trotsky and more importantly Jabotionsky.

  • EthanP

    Guys, come on. This test was widely publicized by the US navy. What this article does not mention is the cost. I believe a TV piece said this prototype cost $40 BILLION.

  • Robert Davis

    This is one MORE reason not to give away any land to arabs in particular “against peace”(meaning war + perpetual war + war in difficult position!). Modern war and its technology MAKES LAND THE UTMOST DEFENCE ADVANTAGE and this is probably one of the reasons if not the main reason why Israel’s enemies are so bent on taking away from Israel the little land it has.

  • Does it always include the music?

  • elle

    What happens when its over cast?

  • Yoel Nitzarim

    A Great Alternative to Iron Dome!

  • Reform School

    Out for a morning jog near Ramle one crisp February morning nearly 34 years ago, an ulpan teacher stopped “dead-in-her-tracks,” turned “red-as-a-beet” and slapped my face so hard she nearly broke my neck. My crime? I made the mistake of greeting an accent-free ESL speaker with “You look all bright eyed and bushy-tailed!” Days later, the pretty war widow warned: Beware of using American idiom with people who know only American slang. She thought I wanted some romance? Before breakfast? That long-past incident commands I be sure readers know the history of the “Loose Lips Sink Ships” campaign.

    en.wikipedia.wiki.org/Loose_lips_sink_ships http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/will-reggie-loves-loose-lips-sink-obamas-ship/

    • drbob1

      Do you really think the PA, Hamas, and Hezbullah are unaware of the potential and the current limits of their rocketry — and Israel’s defenses? Or that Boeing’s Israeli speaker does not know everyone is listening and everyone studies physics?
      Well, the only one who doesn’t know there are no secrets in science must be you, my Reform School” friend. And while the enemies know the problems, we have the expertise at finding solutions. IAF had the first drones and ate Syria’s air force. It has Iron dome and ate 790 rockets. It has Dimona. It has subs from Germany. It has the best-defended tanks on earth. Israel ain’t chopped liver! Relax.

  • Leo Toystory

    A larger version of it could, presumably, reduce any large Middle Eastern city to the consistency of a plate of overcooked ghormeh sabzi.

  • Reform School

    Be the 1st kid in Gaza to shoot down El Al or Air Force One:

    Terrific! Don’t IDF’s Buckaroos know Loose Lips Sink Ships?

  • If you reject the God of the Bible, no weapon you have will prosper….

  • MR.RANDY DOUGLAS MILLER

    SUPER! FANTASTIC! AND PLEASE HAVE THE SUPER HIGH TECH COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Sofia Bain

    Congratulations again to Israel, constantly staying ahead of their deadly enemies.

    Israel wants only Peace and a better place for the whole world, their enemies want only death and hell on earth.

    Long Live Israel!!!

  • dante

    Go US Navy! Go IDF!
    Still, the best way to deal with the jihadists or any other enemy is to offer them peace, with mutual respect. That’s the best way, in default of which, the enemy should be destroyed, where it lives, completely, without mercy. And, that goes for any of its allies, collaborators, accomplices, etc. in europe or elsewhere.

    • Abe Bird

      and what if the enemy doesn’t want peace buy to annihilate Israel in the end of the political process?

    • Robert Davis

      dante : you can offer peace only from a dominant position. Israel is definitely NOT in a POLITICAL dominant position in particular with all these leftists and leftist governments and will NOT be as long as 4 m.arabs squat Western Palestine. The ONLY way to have peace is FIRST TO GET RID OF THOSE ARABS BY EXPELLING THEM TO JORDAN AND SINAI.

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