Lockheed teams with Israel’s Rafael on laser defense
JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. weapons maker Lockheed Martin Corp. and Israeli defense contractor Rafael on Monday said they will team up to develop a high-energy laser system to defend against aerial attacks.
The system will be based on “ Iron Beam,” a laser missile-defense system that Rafael has been developing with Israel’s Defense Ministry.
The Iron Beam has undergone a series of successful tests this year and is expected to be rolled out over the coming decade.
The joint product will be geared toward the American and other markets. Development, testing, and manufacturing will take place both in the U.S. and Israel, the companies said.
Lockheed’s chief operating officer, Frank St. John, said the agreement will help customers “stay ahead of their adversaries.” He said it was an honor to be a “security teammate” of Israel.
The state-owned Rafael designed “Iron Beam” to complement a series of aerial defense systems used by Israel, including the highly effective yet more costly rocket-intercepting Iron Dome.
It is part of a multilayered defense system that Israel is developing on land, in the air and at sea to protect against everything from crude short-term rockets to long-range guided missiles possessed by its enemies.