Photo Credit: Tsafrir Abayov / Flash 90
An "Iron Dome" missile defense system outside Ashkelon.

In keeping with the adage that no bad thing goes without some positive results for someone, there appears to have been an almost instantaneous torrent of good “reviews” following the unprecedented success under fire for the “Iron Dome” system.

Advanced defense systems developer Rafael, maker of the “Dome,” took less than half a day since the last siren warning of incoming missiles was heard, to announce it is issuing 500 million shekel ($133 million) in privately traded stocks strictly for financial institutions, through expanding an existing series of stocks which are currently valued at 68 million shekel ($18 million). Rafael bonds are not inspected and are not traded on the Tel-Aviv stock exchange, but are traded only by institutional funds. by institutional investors.

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The Iron Dome anti-rocket system is designed to counter short-range rockets and 155 mm artillery shells with a range of up to 70 kilometers (43.5 miles). The system has three central components: a detection and tracking radar built by Israel’s Areospace Industries ELTA; a battle management and weapon control (BMC) built by Israeli software company mPrest Systems; and a missile firing unit that launches the Tamir interceptor missile, equipped with electro-optic sensors and steering fins for high maneuverability, built by Rafael.

The system’s radar detects a rocket launch and tracks its trajectory. Then, the BMC calculates the expected hit point according to the reported data, and uses this information to determine whether the target constitutes a threat to a designated area; only in this case an interceptor missile is fired to detonate the rocket before it reaches the expected impact area. The system is designed to only intercept rockets identified as heading for designated targets.

And since the system functioned at an amazing accuracy, better than any comparable anti-missile missile system known today. While the US manufactured Patriot surface to air missiles’ success rate is still lower than 50%, the Iron Dome’s performance this past weekend reached upwards of 85%, according to IDF sources.

Rafael was established in the 1950s by Israel’s Defense Ministry and was incorporated in 2002. It claims that 9% of its sales are re-invested in R&D. For obvious reasons, the company has a special relationship with the IDF, developing products according to specific requirements its engineers are intimately familiar with. Obviously, it has the edge in sales at home, and the recent undeniable success of its product should enhance its sales abroad.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Israel relies on three other systems to protect against a range of rockets: the Arrow II system, developed by Boeing Co. with Israel to counter Iran’s Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of 800 miles; and Raytheon Co. and Israel are also developing the David’s Sling system to intercept missiles with ranges of up to 180 miles. Israel also has Patriot missiles for the intermediate range.

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