Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has signed an agreement with US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) to jointly develop, test and manufacture High Energy Laser Weapon Systems (HELWS) in the US and Israel.
The joint-development is based on the Iron Beam short range laser air-defense system developed by Rafael and the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D). The cooperation will develop and adapt the system for the US and other markets.
After years of development, over the past year a series of tests on Iron Beam was carried out that proved the operational capability of the system. Iron Beam is a 100kW-class HELWS, expected to be the first-ever operational system for ground-based air defense against threats such as rockets, mortars and UAV’s, capable of intercepting threats at the speed of light.
Rafael CEO and president Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yoav Har-Even said, “This strategic teaming agreement serves as a force multiplier for Rafael and the Israeli market. We are working to ensure our customers receive the most advanced, effective, and best in class systems. This agreement will expand and diversify the capabilities we can offer to a variety of customers.”
He added, “Over the last three decades, alongside the DDR&D and the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Rafael has invested in laser research and development, resulting in Iron Beam and we expect to become the first operational laser defense system of its kind. This serves as a clear example of Israeli-made capabilities leading to strategic cooperation which will greatly benefit both sides.”
Iron Beam is set to be integrated into Israel’s multi-layered air defense array. The cost-effective and operationally efficient solution will be able to counter emerging threats, while also defending critical infrastructure, strategic sites, maneuvering forces, and population centers. The system is designed to destroy short-range rockets, artillery, and mortar bombs at a range of up to 7 kilometers – too close for the Iron Dome system to intercept threats effectively. In addition, the system could also intercept unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Iron Beam will constitute the fifth element of Israel’s integrated air defense system, in addition to Arrow 2, Arrow 3, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome.
“Lockheed Martin’s mission is to deliver the best security solutions that help our customers stay ahead of their adversaries. Working with Rafael, our joint team will help bring this new, life-saving capability to our customers,” said Lockheed Martin Chief Operating Officer, Frank St. John. “This unique capability will enhance Israel’s vital air and missile defense system with state-of-the-art laser technology, and we are honored by the opportunity to expand Lockheed Martin’s role as a security teammate for the State of Israel.”
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on December 6, 2022.
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