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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Israel testing anti-Kassam radar and laser

A new radar system for a Katyusha-killing laser cannon has been brought to Israel to be tested against Kassam rockets and mortar shells fired by the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The joint US-Israeli mobile laser gun, called the Nautilus, is still being developed and tested in the United States, but the radar arrived in the country a few days ago and will be deployed shortly near Sderot to track incoming rockets, military sources said.

They hope the radar will boost early warning of incoming rockets by a few precious seconds and help pinpoint their launch sites so the IDF can retaliate against the Kassam or mortar crews.

'This is just the radar and that is just one component of the Nautilus system. The main component is the laser gun, which fires a beam that destroys Katyushas, rockets, Kassams and mortar shells in the air,' said Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Israel, a former head of military research and development. He said the laser gun is still being tested and developed.

The Nautilus is also known as the Tactical High Energy Laser or THEL.

Ben-Israel said the Nautilus radar is a derivative of the Green Pine radar developed for the Arrow 2 antiballistic missile system. He said the Nautilus radar has a quarter of the range of the Green Pine, based on a 'few hundred' modular radar scanners instead of the 'few thousands' on the Green Pine.

The radar not only allows the projectile to be followed in the air, but to determine the exact location of its origin. This would allow for a quick retaliatory strike.

'The mortar shells and Kassam rockets only fly for a few seconds,' Ben-Israel told Army Radio. 'If you can detect it immediately after it is laun"