On Monday, Raytheon and Rafael announced that they are taking their Iron Dome collaboration to a new level. Forming a new joint venture in the United States, the two defense companies will jointly produce Iron Dome missiles in the United States, for sale to the United States military and potential foreign allies.
Iron Dome is reputed to be the missile defense system that Israel used in Hamas’ attacks on it in conflicts in 2012 and after. Of the more than 500 hostile missiles launched at Israel from Gaza between November 14 and 21, 2012, which posed a threat to Israeli population centers, the Iron Dome missiles reportedly destroyed 85 percent of their assigned targets – that is, say the missile defense system. could be twice as effective as Raytheon’s Patriot missile system, built in cooperation with Lockheed Martin.
Designed by Rafael, Iron Dome consists of two main parts: a Tamir interceptor missile and a Tamir launcher. The new joint venture will change this slightly, pairing the Tamir launcher with a SkyHunter interceptor missile, described as a “derivative of Tamir.”
The US military is currently reviewing several of these missile defense systems, with a view to acquiring a new one to complement its existing Patriots. Today’s announcement appears to suggest Raytheon and Rafael believe they are not just in contention – but ready to ramp up production when they win.