THEL Passes Test
(June 7, 2000)
The Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL), a jointly developed U.S.-Israeli Katyusha-killing laser weapon (also known as the Nautilus) successfully shot down a rocket for the first time in a test at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on June 7, 2000. This was the first of a series of tests the THEL must undergo before it is handed over to Israel.
"The success of the test is a crucial step in building a solution to deal with the Katyusha threat on the northern border, even though there is a long road ahead of us," Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael, director of development of weapons systems and infrastructure at the Defense Ministry, said in a statement.
To date, the weapon's development has so far cost some $200 million, of which Israel funded about a third. Congress is considering $5.7 million in additional funding for the unique weapon system.