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Raytheon and Rafael to expand Iron Dome missile production

23rd February 2024 - 11:13 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


The US Army has ordered Iron Dome systems and an order from the USMC may be imminent. (Photo: Raytheon)

Rafael developed Iron Dome to provide a dual-role system which could be used for C-RAM and very-short-range air defence. Since 2011, Iron Dome has served as the lowest layer of the multi-layered Israeli air and missile defence network.

Raytheon and Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, a joint venture dubbed RS2, has begun construction of new factory in Arkansas, US, which will be used to expand production of Iron Dome air defence system.

The facility will produce the Tamir missile for the Iron Dome weapon system and its variant, the SkyHunter missile, which is to be used by the US Marine Corps (USMC) and US allies.

Raytheon said the development marked a US$63 million investment and would build on parent company RTX’s existing production capacity at the Highland Industrial Park, also in Arkansas.

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In 2020, Raytheon and Rafael signed a deal to manufacture Tamir and SkyHunter missiles, as well as Iron Dome systems in the US, a deal which followed more than a decade of co-operation on the system. It followed an announcement by the US Army the previous year that it was buying two Iron Dome systems.

Rafael has been gearing up for a major export contract for Iron Dome which has been planned to be signed with the USMC. It will include three batteries of systems consisting of 44 launchers and 1,840 interceptors.

While the value and timescale of any contract signature has not been made clear, the beginning of works on the new site would indicate that a deal was close.

The Iron Dome and other Israeli anti-missile systems have been used extensively in the past five months against missiles or rockets fired from the West Bank and Gaza, even as the country’s invasion of the latter has continued.

It was noted by Douglas Bush, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, in October last year that it was possible that the Iron Dome systems held by the US Army could be sent to Israel.

A battery consists of a mobile Elta ELM-2084 multi-mission radar, a battle management centre (BMC) and multiple mobile missile firing units (MFUs), each armed with 20 Tamir interceptors. The BMC and MFU are carried on 8x8 heavy-duty trucks. 

According to Shephard Defence Insight, 10 batteries protect Israel, with each fitted with three-to-four stationary launchers and a battlefield radar.

The Shephard News Team


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