| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Israel to Laser in on Iranian Drone Threat as Biden Visits

Moments after US President Joe Biden touches down in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, the Israeli military will show him new hardware it says is essential to confronting Iran: anti-drone lasers, AFP reported.


While Israel has long been known for its efforts to thwart Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, Israeli officials have increasingly been sounding the alarm over Iran’s fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).


This month, the Israeli military said it had intercepted a total of four unarmed drones headed for an offshore gas rig. It said the drones were Iranian-made and launched by the Lebanese group Hezbollah, which is backed by Tehran.


As concerns mount over drone warfare, Israel hopes the new “Iron Beam” system will secure its skies.


While not yet operational, the military hardware was described as a “game-changer” in April by then-prime minister Naftali Bennett.


Presenting such technology to Biden is a strategic move for Israel, which saw Washington approve a billion-dollar package in September for Israel’s active Iron Dome system.


The defense system has been used countless times to intercept rockets fired by militants from the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Iran’s ally Hamas.


The Iron Dome costs roughly $50,000 per launch, while Bennett priced the Iron Beam at $3.50 per deployment.


He said the new defense system was “silent” and could “intercept incoming UAVs, mortars, rockets and anti-tank missiles.”


Uzi Rubin, a former Israeli defense ministry specialist in anti-missile systems, said intercepting drones was a significant challenge.


“The laser technology will have more capacity against drones than rockets and missiles,” said Rubin, who is based at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security.


“It is going to help if we get some American financing” for the Iron Beam, he added.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat