Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies (RTX: NYSE) business, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., an Israeli-based defense technology company, have signed a joint venture to establish an Iron Dome™ Weapon System production facility in the United States. The new partnership, called Raytheon RAFAEL Area Protection Systems, anticipates finalizing a site location before the end of the year.
In 2019, the US Army announced its intent to buy two Iron Dome batteries to fill a need for an interim capability. Given interest by the U.S. and several other nations in Iron Dome’s unique capabilities, Raytheon Missiles & Defense has debuted the SkyHunter® system in cooperation with Rafael. Based on Iron Dome, SkyHunter can be produced in the United States to expand availability and capacity for the U.S. and its allies.
These systems protect at the lowest layer, and Raytheon Missiles & Defense is also teamed with Rafael on the David’s Sling System, which defends at higher layers.
“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,” said Raytheon Missiles & Defense Systems’ Sam Deneke, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense business execution.
The new facility will produce both the Iron Dome Weapon System, which consists of the Tamir interceptor and launcher, and the SkyHunter® missile, a US derivative of Tamir. Both Tamir and SkyHunter intercept incoming cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems and short-range targets such as rockets, artillery, mortars and other aerial threats.
“We are excited about this new stage in our partnership with Raytheon and proud of our U.S. production,” said Brig. Gen. (res.) Pini Yungman, executive vice president for Air and Missile Defense of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. “We have long partnered on U.S. production of Iron Dome and are pleased to increase manufacturing and bring SkyHunter to the U.S.”
Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Rafael have teamed for over a decade on Iron Dome, the world’s most-used system with more than 2,500 operational intercepts and a success rate exceeding 90 percent.
Iron Dome detects, assesses and intercepts a variety of shorter-range targets such as rockets, artillery and mortars. It is effective day or night and in all weather conditions including low clouds, rain, dust storms and fog. It features a first-of-its-kind multi-mission launcher designed to fire a variety of interceptor missiles.
Iron Dome’s Tamir missile knocks down incoming threats launched from ranges of 4-70 km. Tamir missiles feature electro-optical sensors and steering fins with proximity fuze blast warheads. The majority of Tamir missile components are procured through the Raytheon Missiles & Defense supply chain in the United States.