Assessing Israel’s Tactical Laser Breakthrough

Israel says it is on its way to fielding laser weapons in 2020 (photo courtesy of Israel's Defense Ministry).

Israel says it is on its way to fielding laser weapons in 2020 (photo courtesy of Israel's Defense Ministry).

February 11, 2020 | Source: Defense News, Jacob Nagel, Bradley Bowman, and Maj. Liane Zivitski, 17 January 2020

Until recently, the military application of relatively high-energy lasers has been more science fiction than reality. That is starting to change.

Israel’s Ministry of Defense announced on January 8 a “breakthrough” in its development of laser technology to intercept aerial threats. This technological milestone promises to strengthen Israel’s lower-tier missile defense and provides another opportunity for U.S.-Israel research and development cooperation.

In 2006, the same Israeli committee that recommended the development of Iron Dome for short-range missile defense also recommended that Israel continue research and development (R&D) to develop a solid-state laser for the same purpose.

Last week’s announcement demonstrates the prescience of that recommendation.

Israeli government scientists and industry partners have developed a solid-state laser source capable of producing a coherent beam, based on several smaller laser modules, strong enough to intercept lower-tier rockets and missiles.

Communities: