Raytheon and Rafael have signed a joint venture to establish an Iron Dome Weapon System production facility in the US.
The new partnership, called Raytheon RAFAEL Area Protection Systems, anticipates finalizing a site location before the end of the year.
“This will be the first Iron Dome all-up-round facility outside of Israel, and it will help the US Department of Defense and allies across the globe obtain the system for defence of their service members and critical infrastructure,” Raytheon Missiles & Defence Systems’ Sam Deneke, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense business execution, said.
The new facility will produce both the Iron Dome Weapon System, which consists of the Tamir interceptor and launcher, and the SkyHunter missile, a US derivative of Tamir. Both Tamir and SkyHunter intercept incoming cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems and short-range targets such as rockets, artillery, mortars and other aerial threats.
“We are excited about this new stage in our partnership with Raytheon and proud of our US production,” Brig. Gen. (res.) Pini Yungman, executive vice president for Air and Missile Defense of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, said. “We have long partnered on U.S. production of Iron Dome and are pleased to increase manufacturing and bring SkyHunter to the US.”
Iron Dome is the world’s most-used missile defence system, intercepting more than 1,500 incoming targets with a success rate exceeding 90 per cent since being fielded in 2011. Each battery comprises three to four stationary launchers, 20 Tamir missiles and a battlefield radar.
Each of the batteries can defend up to nearly 60 square miles, and are strategically placed around cities to intercept threats headed toward populated areas. The system ignores incoming threats it determines will land in uninhabited areas to minimise unnecessary defensive launches.