A jointly developed US-Israeli Katyusha-killing laser weapon has successfully shot down a rocket for the first time, reported the Jerusalem Post Thursday, quoting project officials.
The test was carried out at the White Sands Missile Range in the New Mexican desert on Tuesday, said the daily.
Quoting a defense ministry statement, the paper said that the weapon, known in the US as the Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL), "tracked and destroyed" a live Katyusha rocket. It was the first of a series of shoot-down tests, including against multiple rockets, the THEL must undergo before it is handed over to Israel.
"The success of the test is a crucial step in building a solution to deal with the Katyusha threat on the northern border, even though there is a long road ahead of us," said the statement.
An Israeli official told the daily that the Israeli defense establishment is interested in developing this technology against other threats too.
The THEL system includes a laser, pointer-tracker, fire-control radar, and a command center, the Jerusalem Post added.
To date, the weapon's development has so far cost some $200 million, of which Israel funded about a third. Congress is considering $5.7 million in additional funding for the unique weapon system.
Defense officials were quoted as saying the laser would be handed over to Israel for further testing, reportedly this fall, according to the daily - Albawaba.com
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