Until recently, the military application of relatively high-energy lasers has been more science fiction than reality. That is starting to change.
Israel’s Ministry of Defense announced on January 8 a “breakthrough” in its development of laser technology to intercept aerial threats. This technological milestone promises to strengthen Israel’s lower-tier missile defense and provides another opportunity for U.S.-Israel research and development cooperation.
In 2006, the same Israeli committee that recommended the development of Iron Dome for short-range missile defense also recommended that Israel continue research and development (R&D) to develop a solid-state laser for the same purpose.
Last week’s announcement demonstrates the prescience of that recommendation.
Israeli government scientists and industry partners have developed a solid-state laser source capable of producing a coherent beam, based on several smaller laser modules, strong enough to intercept lower-tier rockets and missiles.