Iron Dome 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The United States Army will decide in January if it is purchasing the Iron Dome
counter-rocket defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, used
successfully over the past year along the border with the Gaza Strip.
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Jerusalem Post reported in early November that the US was in talks with the
Defense Ministry about the possible procurement of the system, which has already
been sold to Singapore, according to foreign reports.
The US Army is
interested in using the Iron Dome outside bases in Iraq and Afghanistan that
could potentially be targeted by Katyusha rockets. The US military has
discovered 107 mm. Katyushas in Iraq in the past.
Israel currently has
three Iron Dome batteries deployed in the South and a fourth is slated to be
deployed in early 2012. They have intercepted a number of rockets since the
beginning of the year, including during the recent round of violence with
Islamic Jihad in late October.
Yossi Druker, head of Rafael’s Air-to-Air
Directorate, said Wednesday that Rafael was marketing the Iron Dome to the US
Army together with the US-based Raytheon and that a winner in the tender is
expected to be announced in January.
The initial deal is valued at $100
million, but could reach several-hundred-million dollars over a number of years,
“The Americans issued the tender in search of a defense for
rockets that they have found in Afghanistan and Iraq and which threaten their
bases,” he said.
Druker said that additional countries in Europe as well
as South Korea had also expressed interest in the system.
Iron Dome is
designed to defend against rockets at a range of four to 70 kilometers, and each
battery consists of a multi-mission radar manufactured by Israel Aerospace
Industries and three launchers, each equipped with 20 interceptors named Tamir.