US may buy Iron Dome to defend ME bases

US Army is interested in using the Iron Dome outside bases in Iraq and Afghanistan that could potentially be targeted by Katyusha rockets.

By
December 1, 2011 05:03
1 minute read.
The Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system.

Iron Dome 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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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.

The 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.

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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, he said.

“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.

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