Iron Beam Laser Under Development To Shoot Down Missiles With Lasers
The Iron Beam system is a laser-based missile defense system still under development. As far as I know, this system is not yet operational.
This video is a year old, from the Wall Street Journal. It describes accurately the many limitations of this kind of system.
Increasingly sophisticated airborne threats – including mortars, rockets, and UAVs as well as swarms of mini-UAVs – are being faced by both military forces and population centers. Since current Kinetic interceptor systems are expensive and not always sufficient to counter some of these threats, powerful new solutions are required that meet the needs of this new reality.
Any multilayer air defense array consists of a number of various types of interceptors. HEL may serve as a complementary interceptor, having the advantages of engagement at the speed of light, unlimited magazine, and negligible cost per interception. RAFAEL is currently developing two HEL systems, IRON BEAM and LITE BEAM.
LITE BEAM is a 7.5kW HEL interceptor for C-mUAVs and ground targets such as IEDs and UXOs, neutralizing targets from a distance of a few hundred meters to up to 2000 meters. The first proven prototype of LITE BEAM is already available.
IRON BEAM, a 100kW class High Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS), is expected to become the first operational system in its class. IRON BEAM is designed to intercept a wide range of threats such as RAM and UAVs from a distance of a few hundred meters to up to several kilometers. The system can be integrated on multiple platforms and may be a complementary HEL interceptor to any multilayer defense array.
I've been covering this kind of system for a long time; take a look at an early article from 2004 which describes a successful test at the White Sands Missile Range: MTHEL - Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser.
If you're my age you probably remember this use of a fictional power ray to shoot down or disable a powered aircraft on the series Jonny Quest. The episode The Robot Spy was first broadcast in 1964.
I've been racking my brain to think of a specific example of lasers or other power beams used to shoot down missiles; typically this mix of advanced energy weapons and chemical rocket munitions is not found in science fiction.
Energy beam weapons have been in use since War of the Worlds, published by H.G. Wells in 1898; see the article for the heat ray.
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