Peretz chooses Raphael for Kassam defense

Project, called "Iron Dome," expected to cost 300 million dollars.

Raphael - Israel's Armament Development Authority - was chosen Thursday by Defense Minister Amir Peretz to supply a short-range missile interceptor system, dubbed "Iron Dome," to defend against Kassam rockets. Peretz was expected to ask the Knesset for additional funds for the project, estimated to be valued at $300 million. A committee set up by Peretz to choose the short-range rocket defense system is scheduled to present its recommendation to the cabinet on Sunday. The system proposed by Rafael and presented numerous times to the committee made up of representatives of the IDF and the Defense Ministry's Research and Development Authority (MAFAT), works with the combination of a laser and an anti-Kassam missile interceptor and could be operational for deployment outside the Gaza Strip within a year and a half. Other competitors for the contract included Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), Israel Military Industries (IMI), Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. Over the past month, the committee met with representatives of the different companies and viewed presentations on the systems which included rapid-fire artillery guns and laser cannons. The defense scheme under development by Rafael is based on two systems - a solid laser that will have the ability to intercept Kassams in mid-air in addition to a small and cheap anti-rocket missile with a kinetic warhead.