02/02/2022, 15.35
ISRAEL
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Israel plans a laser wall against rocket and drone attacks

Israeli Prime Minister Bennett announced that the defensive wall will be ready "within a year" in the south, followed later by the rest of the country. The technology, which has been under development for some time, should integrate and improve on Israel’s Iron Dome. Set to be operational by 2025, work on it has been speeded up. Sceptics within the military see it as a pie in the sky because its development will take years.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett wants Israel to defend itself using laser technology that would create a wall against missile attacks that is more efficient and sustainable and less expensive than the existing Iron Dome.

During a security conference, Bennett said that new technology would allow the Jewish State to raise a “laser wall” that might be operational within a year in southern Israel, and in the rest of the country later on.

The plan has met with a certain scepticism within Israel’s military circle over its feasibility within the stated timeframe.

The decision to accelerate the plan to boost Israel’s defensive shield was prompted by the escalation of violence south of Israel, in particular in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which are vulnerable to rocket and drone attacks by Houthis in Yemen.

At present, not much information is available about the new technology, most notably its effectiveness, timing and costs, but it is thought that it might include land, air and sea defences.

“If we can intercept a missile or rocket with an electrical pulse that costs a few dollars, we will essentially neutralize the ring of fire that Iran has set up," Bennett told the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

What is more, “This new generation of air defense can also serve our friends in the region,” he added.

Laser technology aims to integrate the Iron Dome defence and other systems to address and thwart new threats. It is also a warning to Iran and its regional allies, most notably Hezbollah.

Bennett explained that a rocket worth a few hundred dollars can be fired against Israel, but intercepting it costs tens of thousands of dollars. For this reason, a “laser wall” makes sense.

Israel's military will begin testing what is designed to become the “laser wall" against missiles, rockets and drones. But development of laser technology has been underway for years, but was not expected before 2025.

A confident Bennett said that within a year the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will implement a laser-based interception system, “Initially, as a trial, afterward operationally”.

However, within the military, the prime minister’s plans are seen a bit like a pie in the sky because it takes years to build a new system.

Still, defence officials recently cited promising tests with aircraft-mounted laser defence systems capable of intercepting unmanned aircrafts.

A laser system could also address longer-range threats at high altitudes regardless of weather conditions.

For its part, Iron Dome has had a 90 per cent interception rate against incoming rocket fire during four wars against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

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