Lockheed Martin, the American titan of defense industries, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel, a developer of anti-missile weapons capabilities such as the Iron Dome system, have entered into an agreement for the development, testing and manufacture of High Energy Laser Weapon Systems (HELWS) in the U.S. and Israel. The future joint-development will be based within the framework of the IRON BEAM project. The cooperation will be geared towards developing a variant of the system for the American market as well as others.
Rafael explains that Iron Beam tech was developed to meet the increasingly sophisticated airborne threats – including mortars, rockets, and UAVs as well as swarms of mini-UAVs.
These weapons and threats are confronting both military forces and population centers. Since current Kinetic interceptor systems are expensive and not always sufficient to counter some of these threats, powerful new solutions are required that meet the needs of this new reality, says the company.
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IRON BEAM is set to be integrated into Israel’s multi-layered air defense array. The cost-effective and operationally efficient solution will be able to counter emerging threats, while also defending critical infrastructure, strategic sites, maneuvering forces, and population centers.
“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,” said RAFAEL CEO and President Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Yoav Har-Even. “Over the last three decades, alongside the DDR&D and the Israeli Ministry of Defense, RAFAEL has invested in laser research and development, resulting in IRON BEAM and we expect to become the first operational laser defense system of its kind. This serves as a clear example of Israeli-made capabilities leading to strategic cooperation which will greatly benefit both sides.”
Lockheed Martin Chief Operating Officer Frank St. John said that his company’s mission is to deliver the best security solutions that help our customers stay ahead of their adversaries.
“Working with Rafael, our joint team will help bring this new, life-saving capability to our customers,” he said. “This unique capability will enhance Israel’s vital air and missile defense system with state-of-the-art laser technology, and we are honored by the opportunity to expand Lockheed Martin’s role as a security teammate for the State of Israel.”
In November 2004, Lockheed Martin completed its undertaking for industrial collaboration with Israeli companies and for offset acquisitions in Israel as part of the Peace Marble V program. Originally planned to deliver over the course of 12 years, the resulting work – at a volume of $1.45 billion – was delivered in less than five. Approximately 40 Israeli companies, mainly in defense, technology, venture capital and research and development, were positively impacted by this collaboration.