This brief link reports that the Israelis have “successfully completed final testing” on a new laser-based, defense system that will be deployed on civilian airliners to protect against missile attacks. The link does not state how soon all Israeli civilian airliners will be equipped with this missile-defense system, but it does state that tests of this new “sky shield” system were “100% successful.” When deployed, it should make El Al the safest airline to fly.
This is a remarkable technological achievement, but what is really noteworthy is what is not stated in the article. If the Israelis are ready to deploy a laser-based, anti-missile system on their civilian aircraft, does it not make sense that they will also be installing it on any military aircraft large enough to host the system? Certainly, in-flight refueling aircraft, AWACS-type aircraft, cargo aircraft and other larger military warplanes could surely be equipped with this system as well. Indeed, the report doesn’t specify how small the laser-based anti-missile defense system is, but could it also be installed on F-16 and F-15 aircraft as well? If it can’t be installed internally on a fighter jet, can it be installed as an external package attached under the wing of Israeli warplanes? If so, could perhaps one F-15 or F-16 be equipped with such a laser-defense system and have it protect a flight of other IDF warplanes which would fly in a tight formation with normal weaponry but would be protected from land-based missiles by flying adjacent to the laser-equipped plane?
There are many military applications for a ready-to-deploy laser weapons system. Can the laser weapons system be mounted on tracked Israeli army vehicles and adapted to attack the armored vehicles of enemy forces? Indeed, if it can be mounted on a mobile platform like a tracked armored vehicle, this new anti-missile, laser system could be used to shoot down missiles if fired at Israel by Hezbollah in any future war.
I fully expect that the Israelis will not limit the deployment of a laser-based, anti-missile system to the protection of just its civilian airliners. This new technology has all kinds of military applications. The ones I’ve mentioned above are merely the obvious ones. I’m sure the resourceful Israelis will think of all kinds of ways this new technology will be militarily useful.