Raytheon [RTN] and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd yesterday said they have teamed to market the Iron Dome weapon system in the United States.
Rafael developed the original Iron Dome to provide the Israeli population with protection against rockets, artillery and mortar attacks.
The program has completed flight test trials, and the weapon system is currently used in Israeli population centers to protect against terrorist rocket attacks based on an Israeli Ministry of Defence decision.
“We’ll be marketing a ‘U.S. variant’ of the Israeli Iron Dome system in the United States,” said Mike Booen, vice president of Raytheon’s Advanced Security and Directed Energy Systems, said in response to questions from Defense Daily.
“While we will completely reuse Iron Dome’s Tamir missile and its Missile Firing Unit (MFU), we’ll be integrating the missile and MFU to existing U.S. radar and command and control assets, both of which are used in existing Raytheon products,” he said. “This will provide the warfighter with a longer range C-RAM system with zero development risk to deal with problems they face right now.”
The Iron Dome system would fill a niche in U.S. capabilities.
“Iron Dome complements other Raytheon weapons that provide intercept capabilities to the U. S. Army’s Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar initiative at forward operating bases,” Booen said. “Iron Dome can be seamlessly integrated with Raytheon’s C-RAM systems to complete the layered defense.”
Through its experience with the Land-based Phalanx Weapon Systems (LPWS), Raytheon is aware that solving the C-RAM problem to provide force protection for warfighters is a very important problem, Booen said. “Currently LPWS is the only operational C-RAM system protecting troops today, and we know U.S. forces would like greater range capability, which would provide a larger defended area! A U.S. variant of Iron Dome would provide US forces with a combat-tested capability that could quickly provide force protection for a growing threat.”
Also, Raytheon and Rafael are teaming on the David Sling Weapon System, which is a mobile, land-based missile defense program, and the Blue Sparrow missile defense targets program.
The system will have the ability to be part of a network, as the companies plan to directly link the Iron Dome Tamir missile and its Missile Firing Unit (MFU) with existing U.S. assets, Booen said. “Our partner Rafael have already provisioned for linking Iron Dome to its already very capable layered defense.”
David Stemer, Rafael executive vice president and general manager of Rafael’s Missile Division, said: “The Iron Dome teaming builds on our decade-long, ongoing cooperation with Raytheon Missile Systems to provide air and missile defense solutions. Iron Dome delivers a leap-ahead, affordable capability for future customers.”