Air Defense: September 29, 2004


After four years of tinkering and testing, the MTHEL (Mobile Tactical High-Energy Laser) is ready, but not scheduled, for production. The laser and radar system can track up to sixty targets at a time (mortar and artillery shells, rockets) and fire on and destroy these projectiles at a range of up to five kilometers. MTHEL can destroy about a dozen targets a minute, at a cost of some $3,000 per shot. In its current state, each MTHEL system would require three large tractor trailer trucks to carry the radar, fuel supplies and laser. Its taken eight years, and over a half a billion dollars, for American and Israeli engineers to get that far. This version could be ready for combat use in about six years, at a cost of another billion dollars. In another few years, engineers believe they could create a MTHEL that could fit in a hummer. 

Aside from the systems size and cost, theres also the problem of lasers being weakened by clouds, fog, mist or even artificial smoke. For that reason, theres not a lot of enthusiasm for proceeding right now on such a bulky and expensive system. But by the end of the decade, the smaller, and cheaper, version will be more attractive.


Article Archive

Air Defense: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close