Sign: rampant misinformation surrounding Israel’s Iron Beam defense system

A video circulating on social media that claims to show Israel’s high-energy Iron Beam defense system shooting down Hamas rockets actually uses footage from Arma 3, a military simulation video game.

The video was originally shared on X (formerly Twitter) by an account claiming to be Mossad, the Israeli government’s intelligence agency.

An example of the fake footage shared on social media.

“While it is flattering that Arma 3 simulates modern warfare in such a realistic manner, we are certainly not satisfied that it can be mistaken for real-life combat footage and used as war propaganda,” Bohemia Interactive, the Czech Republic-based company that developed Arma 3, said in a statement.

The video was actually taken from a YouTube video that was uploaded a few days ago.

The original YouTube video taken from the Arma 3 video game.

Iron Beam vs Iron Dome – what’s the difference?

The key difference between Israel’s two defense systems is that Iron Dome is fully operational, while Iron Beam – disinformation aside – is not.

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First deployed by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in March 2011 following rocket attacks from Gaza and Lebanon, Iron Dome is Israel’s world-renowned air defense missile system. It detects and intercepts incoming threats such as artillery, mortars, unmanned aerial vehicles and precision guided missiles.

Iron Dome also boasts a 90% success rate in its decade of use, although criticism has been leveled at the ineffective use of Iron Dome by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during the initial Hamas attack on 7 October.

Iron Beam is Israel’s directed energy air defense weapon system capable of destroying fast moving missiles with powerful energy beams. In December 2022, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Lockheed Martin announced that they are jointly developing, testing and manufacturing Iron Beam in the USA and Israel.

“We expect [Iron Beam] to become the first operational laser defense system of its kind,” said Rafael CEO Yoav Har-Even.

While interceptors launched from the Iron Dome cost $60,000 eachThe Iron Beam costs “just a few dollars,” meaning “the cost of killing it is small,” Uzi Rubin, a missile defense expert at Israel’s Defense Ministry, was quoted as telling The Telegraph.

The Iron Beam also needs no ammo and is smaller and lighter, making it easier to hide. However, it cannot operate in wet conditions, as water particles in the atmosphere absorb the laser’s energy, and it has a slower rate of fire, requiring about five seconds to deliver sufficient energy to destroy its target.

US aid package targets Iron Dome

Rumors have circulated that the Iron Beam is scheduled for deployment in 2025, although the Israeli Defense Ministry has suggested that it intends to accelerate deployment.

Internationally, efforts are focused on strengthening Israel’s existing Iron Dome system.

On October 20, the US State Department unveiled a new aid package covering the various proxy wars in which it is financially involved.

This includes $61.4 billion in renewed aid for the Ukraine$9.15 billion in humanitarian aid, $7.4 billion for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region, and $14.3 billion for Israel.

From this Israeli aid, $10.6 billion will support air and missile defense, with $1.2 billion earmarked specifically to fund research, development, test and evaluation for Iron Dome, according to a letter to Congress from the Office of Management and Budget.

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