A FULL TEST of the US-Israeli Nautilus laser gun, which is designed to destroy rockets and missiles, is scheduled for later this month. Sources say that the results will enable a decision on the programme's continuation.

The programme began in 1991 and, according to Israeli sources, has reached a crucial stage. The aim of the programme is to develop a laser gun capable initially of destroying short-range rockets.

Some partial tests have been conducted in New Mexico, and another is scheduled for the end of the month. This test will combine the elements of the system in its full configuration, sensors, fire control and high-energy laser.

During the test, the laser will be pointed at a Russian-built BM-21 artillery rocket. According to the plan, the laser-gun system is to be developed for use against missiles, and it will also be mounted on airborne platforms. TRW, Israel Aircraft Industries, Rafael and Tadiran are involved in the programme.

Source: Flight International