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Israel’s Rafael teams up with Lockheed Martin for joint laser weapons development

The cooperation will be geared to developing a variant of Rafael’s Iron Beam for the U.S. market.

Israel concludes its first successful trial of ground-based laser interception system 4 on April 14, 2022. Credit: Courtesy of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
Israel concludes its first successful trial of ground-based laser interception system 4 on April 14, 2022. Credit: Courtesy of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin announced on Monday the signing of an agreement to jointly develop, test and manufacture laser weapon systems.

The joint development will be based on laser technology developed by Rafael and the Israeli Defense Ministry for the Iron Beam project, according to the joint statement by both companies.

“The cooperation will be geared towards developing a variant of the system for the American market as well as others,” it said.

Iron Beam underwent a series of tests in the past years to prove its operational capability, and is due to be deployed on Israel’s borders in the coming years.

It will be the first ever ground-based laser air defense system against rockets, mortars and unmanned aerial vehicles, delivering speed-of-light engagement of threats at low cost compared to missile interceptors.

It will defend critical infrastructure, strategic sites, maneuvering forces and population centers.

Rafael CEO and President Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yoav Har Even commented on the new agreement, stating, “This strategic teaming agreement serves as a force multiplier for Rafael and the Israeli market. We are working to ensure our customers receive the most advanced, effective and best in class systems. This agreement will expand and diversify the capabilities we can offer to a variety of customers.”

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