Israel to text antirocket laser
The United States is shipping a prototype Nautilus chemical-laser defense system to Israel for testing. The Nautilus destroyed a short-range rocket in flight at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in February (see Laser Report, March 1, 1996, p. 2). The Nautilus program will reportedly cost the USA $50 million and Israel $20 million by 1998. Israeli media say u¥to five years may be needed to make the system operational. The prototype will eventually be shipped to the north and serve as protection against Katyusha rockets launched by Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. Critics contend that the Katyusha`s low trajectory and short range will make the rockets difficult to stop. Israel is investigating eventual use of the Nautilus against fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.