The Ministry of Defence of Israel (IMOD) announced today that the Israeli Directorate of Defense Research and Development and Israeli defence manufacturer "Rafael" successfully completed ground-breaking tests with a high-power laser interception system against steep-track threats.
According to IMOD, the demonstrator successfully intercepted UAVs, mortars, rockets, and anti-tank missiles in multiple scenarios.
"The experiments, that were carried out in the south of the country by the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Research and Development (DDR&D, or MAFAT in Hebrew) and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, saw the laser system known as “Magen Or” successfully intercept a number of aerial targets including unmanned aerial vehicles, mortars, rockets and anti-tank missiles in various scenarios," The Jerusalem post reported.
“This is a historical moment for weapons systems. For the first time, an energy-based weapons system actually works. I am not talking about ideas, but a system that works,” said Brig.-Gen. Yaniv Rotem, Head of Military R&D in the Defense Ministry.
“Our mission was clear: To show that it works before the Passover holiday with all the criteria that we set,” said Rotem, adding that the series of experiments have allowed Israel to enter a “whole new era.”
“No one in the world has shown such capabilities. The State of Israel is the first to carry out a live firing attempt. We are in an age of new types of weapons - energy-based weapons. We are there,” he said.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Israel has become one of the first countries to succeed in developing powerful laser technology at operational standards that can carry out interceptions in operational scenarios.
“Energy-based weapons with a powerful laser is, in my opinion, a very significant game-changer,” Gantz said, adding that the system “will contribute to the denial of critical enemy capabilities in all arenas.”
While Gantz said that it will still take time before it is fully operational, “for the first time ever a powerful laser system has intercepted distant targets. This achievement is because of Israeli innovation, the defense establishment, and the industries that have come together to provide an umbrella of security for the citizens of Israel.”
Calling it “first-rate breakthrough technology” and a “significant game-changer,” Gantz said that the system will not only provide the IDF with great operational capabilities but it will give the government flexibility and the ability to breathe during wartime.