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Raytheon, Rafael Team on Iron Dome Production

Aug. 24, 2020
Raytheon and Israel’s Rafael team to establish a U.S. production facility for the Iron Dome Weapon System and interceptor missiles.

Production of one of the most used electronic defense systems is about to be boosted by a partnership between Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies company, and Israeli-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. The two companies have signed a joint venture agreement to establish an Iron Dome Weapon System production facility in the United States, at a location yet to be established. The new partnership is being called Raytheon RAFAEL Area Protection Systems. The Iron Dome is one of the most used interceptor systems in the world, with a success rate of over 90%. The system consists of Rafael’s Tamir interceptor and launcher (see figure). Each Iron Dome battery employs multiple stationary missile launchers and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to determine when incoming threats will strike unpopulated areas and can be ignored.

Once established, the new facility will produce both the Iron Dome system and the SkyHunter interceptor missile, a U.S. derivative of the Tamir interceptor missile. Both interceptor missiles tackle incoming cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and short-range (4 to 70 km) targets. Sam Deneke, vice-president of the Land Warfare & Air Defense business for Raytheon Missiles & Defense Systems, explained the importance of production: “This will be the first Iron Dome all-up-round facility outside of Israel, and it will help the U.S. Department of Defense and allies across the globe obtain the system for defense of their service members and critical infrastructure.”

Brigadier General (reserve) Pini Yungman, executive vice-president for Air and Missile Defense of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, added: “We are excited about this new stage in our partnership with Raytheon and proud of our U.S. production. We have long partnered on U.S. production of Iron Dome and are pleased to increase manufacturing and bring SkyHunter to the U.S.” The two companies have partnered for more than a decade on producing the Iron Dome Weapon System, first fielded in 2011 as a defense for populated areas.

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