Israel says laser missile shield to cost just US$2 per interception

JERUSALEM : A laser-based air defence system that Israel hopes to deploy from next year to neutralise enemy rockets and drones will cost just US$2 per interception, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday (Jun 1).

Israel currently depends on shoot-down systems that launch interceptor missiles costing between tens of thousands and millions of dollars to track such projectiles.

But the Iron Beam system, a prototype of which was unveiled last year, uses lasers to super-heat and disable aerial threats.

Bennett predicted it would enter service by early 2023.

“This is a game-changer, not just because we are striking at the enemy military, but also because we are bankrupting it,” he said during a visit to the system’s state-owned manufacturer, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems.

Palestinian and Lebanese forces have in past wars launched thousands of rockets and mortar bombs at Israel, which has in recent years also intercepted drones it suspects were launched by Iranian-backed fighters near its borders.

“Until today, it cost us a lot of money to intercept each rocket. Today they (the enemy) can invest tens of thousands of dollars in a rocket and we will invest US$2 on the electricity for intercepting that rocket,” Bennett said in a video issued by his office.

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