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January 27
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U.S. weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin and Israeli contractor Rafael have teamed up to create a high-energy laser weapon system based on technology already under development in Israel, which could hit the market next year.

The idea, the companies said, is to create a version of Iron Beam, which is a laser-based air defense system being developed separately by Rafael and the Israeli Defense Ministry, targeting the U.S. and other markets.

According to them, Iron Beam underwent a series of tests last year "proved the operational capability of the system," Reuters reported.

Israel hopes to deploy Iron Beam as early as next year as a much cheaper alternative for neutralizing enemy missiles and drones than the interceptor missiles it currently uses.

The system, a prototype of which was unveiled last year, uses lasers to overheat and disarm airborne threats. "This agreement will expand and diversify the capabilities we can offer to a variety of customers," said Yoav Har-Even, CEO of state-owned Rafael.

The Iron Beam is to complement Israel's existing air defense system, which is based on the Iron Dome, David's Sling and Arrow, systems that launch interceptor missiles costing tens of thousands to millions of dollars each.

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