A new agreement was signed Monday between the United States-based defense company Lockheed Martin and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, resulting in the joint development, testing, and manufacturing of a high-energy laser weapon system (HELWS) in the U.S. and Israel.
The newest joint development is based on pre-existing assets developed independently by Rafael and the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) within the framework of the Iron Beam project, a new laser weapon to replace Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense.
According to reports, this latest venture will be geared toward developing a variant of the system to be used in U.S. markets and elsewhere.
“This strategic teaming agreement serves as a force multiplier for Rafael and the Israeli market,” Rafael CEO and President Major General Har-Even said in a press release.
“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.”
Iron Beam is a 100kW-class High Energy Laser Weapon System (HELWS) and is expected to be the first-ever operational system for ground-based air defense against threats, including rockets, mortars, and drones.
The system is expected to be integrated into Israel’s multilayered air-defense array to counter emerging threats while defending critical infrastructure, strategic sites, maneuvering military forces, and civilian population centers.
“The system is designed to provide defense against emerging threats in today’s complex battlefield, bolstering the strength of the Israeli home front, and is a catalyst for forging bilateral collaborations,” said Ran Gozali.
Gozali is the executive vice president of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and head of the company’s Land and Naval Systems Directorate.
The Iron Beam project has been under joint development in Israel by DDR&D and Rafael for several years, undergoing several tests that proved its operational capability.
“Over the last three decades, alongside the DDR&D and the Israeli Defense Ministry, Rafael has invested in laser research and development, resulting in Iron Beam, and we expect [the HELWS] to become the first operational laser defense system of its kind,” said Har-Even.
The American-based Defense Company intends to leverage its decades of defense technology expertise to help efficiently and effectively develop the Iron Beam BASED HELWS.
“Lockheed Martin’s mission is to deliver the best security solutions that help our customers stay ahead of their adversaries,” Lockheed Martin Chief Operating Officer Frank St. John said.
“Working with Rafael, our joint team will help bring this new, life-saving capability to our customers. This unique capability will enhance Israel’s vital air- and missile-defense system with state-of-the-art laser technology and honored by the opportunity to expand Lockheed Martin’s role as a security teammate for the State of Israel.”
With the Islamic Republic of Iran supplying its terrorist proxies against Israeli and American troops in the Middle East, officials from the IDF and the American Armed Forces believe that military advancements like the Iron Beam are key to deter threats and lessen civilian and troop causalities.
Israel has relied on high-tech missile technology from America, aiding in striking rockets from Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon for several years. With the latest agreement between Rafael and Lockheed, experts say this will significantly strengthen the military cooperation between Israel and America.