US eyes Israeli short-range missile interceptor for Europe defense

Visiting Israel, Maj.-Gen. Glenn Bramhall says he sees new need to complement his corps' mid-range Patriot and THAAD interceptors with a thrifty system for less powerful missile threats.

By REUTERS
June 27, 2016 15:19
2 minute read.
Gaza

An iron dome launches rockets to intercept incoming rockets from Gaza on Tuesday.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

The United States has tested the short-range interceptor missile used by Israel's Iron Dome system with a view to incorporating it or a future American counterpart in European-based air defenses against Russia, a US Army general said on Monday.

Developed with funding help from Washington, Iron Dome has had a 90 percent shoot-down rate against Palestinian rockets, Israeli and US officials say. But the system's $50 million unit price and limited reach have dampened its export appeal.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Visiting Israel, Major-General Glenn Bramhall of the US Army's Air and Missile Defense Command said he saw a new need to complement his corps' mid-range Patriot and THAAD interceptors with a thrifty system for less powerful missile threats.

To that end, he said, US assessors have test-launched Iron Dome's interceptor missile, "Tamir," which is jointly manufactured by Massachusetts firm Raytheon Co. and Israel's state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

"With all that is happening in Europe, especially the fact that Russia has really awakened itself and has really decided to rebuild its military and is really posing a threat, we are looking at how we can do the multi-tiered defense," Bramhall told Reuters at a conference hosted by the Israeli security organization iHLS.

"We are looking at multiple solutions to actually create a third tier that is missing. Patriot and THAAD are great systems that do what they were designed to do. But I don't think we would want to waste a Patriot or a THAAD missile on something that can be affected by something that's lower cost and is actually designed for that job itself."

"I think we are looking at something that is similar to Iron Dome. We have looked at the Tamir as a possible missile," he added, raising the prospect of the Israeli-designed missiles being used with the US Army's Multi Mission Launcher platform.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Bramhall anticipated that the short-range system chosen would be deployed "probably within two or three years." Rafael puts the Tamir unit cost at around $100,000, a price tag Bramhall said he believed was "within an acceptable range."

US Army purchases of Tamir would buoy Israeli defense industries unsure of whether they can bank on Washington's largess in the future. In talks on a new long-term defense aid package to Israel, the White House wants to cut the amount of grant money the Israelis can spend on their own products.

Bramhall was due to inspect an Iron Dome unit in Israel on Tuesday. A Rafael vice president, Yosi Druker, was circumspect about whether the US Army should be lobbied to buy Tamirs rather than await a comparable American interceptor missile.

"It would be right for us at Rafael, and for every Israeli citizen, to support whatever the Americans decide on," Druker told Reuters.

Iron Dome was initially billed as providing city-sized coverage against rockets or mortar shells with ranges of between 5 km (3 miles) and 70 km (42 miles). System upgrades extended that reach to up to 150 km (95 miles), Israeli experts say.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

THE TEL AVIV skyline; the area around the city is home to many Israeli start-ups
November 16, 2018
Shop, pray, repeat - the emerging synagogue trend in Israeli retail stores

By ZACHARY KEYSER