On February 19th, Israeli Outlet Israeldefense reported the Keren Barzel laser missile defense system (Iron Beam HELWS, High-Energy Laser Weapon System) entered its testing phase in the integration with Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) radar.
There is no official comment from either company regarding the matter.
According to the manufacturer Rafael’s website:
“Iron Beam is a mobile High-Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS) which destroys airborne targets (C-RAM, C-UAV) and ground-based targets by irradiation with a directed High Energy (HE) laser beam. It is designed for operation as a stand-alone system or part of air-defense system at day or night-time.
Iron Beam system comprises technologies that offer unique new capabilities. Iron Beam weapon system enables delivery of scalable levels of energy at tactical and strategic distances while generating entirely new effect in the battlefield.
The Iron Beam destroys a target either by heating the target surface to the weakening point and causing it to fail under operating stress, or by burning through the skin to destroy underlying critical components and/or subsystems.”
In the past, it was already reported that IAI is working on its own laser missile defense system, with a control system resembling the company’s Sky Capture (“Locked Shkhakim”), including a radar, the EL/M-2106 ATAR (Advanced Tactical Acquisition Radar). The Iron Beam presumably uses the same system.
Military blogger Oleg Granovsky also discovered some discrepancies in the Israeldefense report.
“Israeldefense claims that “Locked Shkhakim” is a radar station used in the sea-based Barak-8 air defense system, in particular, in the Israeli Navy. But this is a mistake: the Adir (EL / M-2248 MF-STAR, Multi-Function Surveillance, Track And Guidance Radar) is installed on the upgraded Saar-5, it is planned for use on the new Saar-6, and modernized “Saar-4.5” – “Magal Ash” (EL / M-2258 ALPHA, Advanced Lightweight Phased Array). Furthermore, israeldefense argues that if successful, it is possible to install the marine version of the Iron Beam on all types of rocket boats and naval corvettes, as well as export it.”
However, at the end of the article Israeldefense also reports that the laser is too big and can’t be installed on small ships and boats.
Also, its financing doesn’t come from the Israeli defense ministry, but from an undisclosed foreign customer.
Regardless, there have been numerous reports starting from 2009 that Israel was developing its own laser defense system, and numerous reports that it is to be deployed.
Development on it initially began in 2009, according to reports.
It was initially to be unveiled in January 2014.
Then in February 2017, it was allegedly ready to be deployed as the world’s first “laser defense system.”
More recently, in December 2018, reports appeared claiming that development on the laser defense system was progressing.
Notwithstanding, according to Oleg Granovsky’s report, the Israeldefense article on the Iron Beam is quite unclear on what it actually relates to.
“I note that either this is a confusion with the name of the radar station, and then, if we are talking about “Adir” and/or “Magal Ash”, we can talk about the maritime use of the system (of course, if it is possible to reduce its weight and dimensions). If we are talking about “Locked Shkhakim” – the usual land “Keren Barzel” is being tested,” he concluded.
Separately, Rafael is to unveil a new stand-off air-to-surface missile at the Aero India Air Show in Bengaluru, India, according to Israeldefense. Equipped with either a penetration or blast fragmentation warhead, the missile can destroy above-ground or well-defended underground targets in heavily surface-to-air-defended areas.
“Rocks provides a cutting-edge and cost-effective solution that combines several combat-proven technologies inherited from our latest generation SPICE system. It effectively answers a growing demand for long-range, GPS-independent air-to-ground precision strike capability,” said Yuval Miller, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Rafael’s Air & C4ISR Systems Division.
“Aero India is an excellent opportunity to present this new system, and we can proudly say that as of today, Rafael is well-situated in India with a broad industrial base, Joint-Ventures, indigenous companies, and a substantial Indian supply-chain, as part of our commitment to the ‘Make-In-India’ policy,” Miller added.
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