Lockheed Martin and Rafael Sign Teaming Agreement to Collaborate on High-Energy Laser System


Defence Industry

Tel Aviv: Lockheed Martin and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, have signed a teaming agreement that includes jointly developing, testing and manufacturing a High Energy Laser Weapon Systems (HELWS) in the US and Israel.

The future joint-development will be based on the assets that have been developed independently by Rafael and the Ministry of Defense’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) 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.

After years of joint development by the Ministry of Defense’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D) and Rafael, the IRON BEAM project was initiated by the DDR&D. In the last year, a series of tests on the system was carried out that proved the operational capability of the system. IRON BEAM is a 100kW-class HELWS, expected to be the first-ever operational system for ground-based air defence against threats such as rockets, mortars and UAV’s, delivering engagement at the speed of light.

“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 defence system of its kind. This serves as a clear example of Israeli-made capabilities leading to strategic cooperation which will greatly benefit both sides.”

IRON BEAM is set to be integrated into Israel’s multi-layered air defence array. The cost-effective and operationally efficient solution will be able to counter emerging threats, while also defending critical infrastructure, strategic sites, manoeuvring forces, and population centres.

“Lockheed Martin’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,” said Lockheed Martin Chief Operating Officer, Frank St. John. “This unique capability will enhance Israel’s vital air and missile defence system with state-of-the-art laser technology, and we are honoured by the opportunity to expand Lockheed Martin’s role as a security teammate for the State of Israel.”

“We see the capability of IRON BEAM which was developed alongside the DDR&D as a technological breakthrough, with its proven effectiveness against some of the most sophisticated threats including rockets, mortars, drones and UAVs, including in swarms. The system is designed to provide defence 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 Executive Vice President Dr Ran Gozali, Head of the Land and Naval Systems Directorate at Rafael.

After a long war between the proponents and opponents of a laser based defense systems, the program has been officially started last year. Sources say that the initial effort is to develop an electric 100-150 kW solid state laser that will be capable of intercepting rockets and missiles. The idea is to use two laser guns to create the needed power.

A source in the defence industry said that in order to have a system that will be capable of intercepting more than short range rockets and missiles, Israel will need a laser generator that will be capable of producing a 1 Mega W beam.

According to an official statement , the Directorate of Defense R&D (DDR&D) in the Ministry of Defense has achieved a technological breakthrough in the development of the “Iron Beam” high-power laser system. The “Iron Beam” is expected to be cost-effective and operationally.



  1. Frank St. John, Chief Operating Officer, Lockheed Martin with Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Yoav Har-Even, Rafael CEO and President
  2. Frank St. John, Chief Operating Officer, Lockheed Martin with Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Yoav Har-Even, Rafael CEO and President
  3. Titles for group photo (number 3), from left to right: Eric Scherff, VP of Mission Strategy, Architecture and Growth (MSAG) for Deterrence, Strike, Missile Warning and Defense, Lockheed Martin, Douglas Graham, VP of Strategic Initiatives, Lockheed Martin , Tal Galor, Director, Business development, Lockheed Martin Israel Joshua (Shiki) Shani, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Israel and Frank St. John, Chief Operating Officer, Lockheed Martin, Maj. Gen. Yoav Har-Even, CEO and President of Rafael,  Dr. Uzi Landau, Chairman Rafael, Dr. Ran Gozali Executive Vice President and Head of the Land and Naval Systems Directorate Rafael, Dr. Zach Glickman Executive Vice President and Head of the Research, Development and Engineering Directorate at Rafael, Gideon Weiss Vice President and International Business Development and Marketing Director at Rafael

SOUNDBITE FILE: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Yoav Har-Even, Rafael CEO and President; Frank St. John, Chief Operating Officer, Lockheed Martin

YOU TUBE LINK – IRON BEAM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF6eHC4JBXA