US company TRW and Israel Aircraft Industries jointly developed the Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser system.
Dror Marom 6 Nov 02 12:06
The joint US-Israel Nautilus system for intercepting Katyusha rockets yesterday successfully shot down an artillery shell traveling at supersonic speed. The trial, the first in military history, took place at the White Sands testing grounds in New Mexico, where previous testing of the program also took place.
The Nautilus, also called the Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser (MTHEL), is the first and only system to ever intercept both an individual Katyusha and a barrage of dozens of such rockets. Katyushas are much slower than artillery shells. Development of the Nautilus began before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the increased threat of terrorism.
US company TRW (NYSE: TRW) and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) jointly developed the system. Elta Electronic Industries developed the radar, IAI’s MBT (MABAT) - Weapon Systems and Space Technologyunit is developing the sensors and the fire control system, Tadiran is developing the control and monitoring tools, and Rafael (Israel Armament Development Authority) is supplying the power source for the laser. The initial development costs amount to $201.8 million. Israel put up $67.5 million, a third of the financing, mostly for development, while the US promised to pay for testing and production.
The mobile Nautilus system is designed for the Israel Defense Forces onIsrael's northern border, where Hizbollah's Katyusha rocketspose a threat from Southern Lebanon, and in other locations. US Army Space and Missile Defense Command and US Army Space Command commander General Joseph M. Cosumano said, “The tactical laser is capable of changing the face of the battlefield.” TRW Space & Electronics president and CEO Timothy W. Hannemann predicts that production of the operational mobile system will begin soon.
Israel and the US are considering development of a antiaircraft version of the system.
Published by Globes [online] - www.globes.co.il - on November 6, 2002