An Israeli/US study to reduce the size and weight of the Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) will be complete in October with a follow-on study due to start next year aimed at freezing the new design by the end of 2002.

TRW is the prime contractor with Rafael acting as subcontractor. Tests of a prototype system in the USA have shown THEL's ability to shoot down its intended targets - Katyusha rockets. THEL is funded jointly by the USA and Israel.

Design changes have been influenced by Israel's requirements and Rafael is closely involved in the component size reduction work. "The aim is to produce a system that can be transported in one or two trucks", says a Rafael source.

Source: Flight International