Israel’s years’ long efforts to sell its famed Iron Dome anti-rocket system overseas may be finally yielding fruit.
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The system is on display this week at the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army, a professional association for officers, and last month Pentagon officials for the first reportedly expressed interest in buying it.
Developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, the system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells and has been in use by the Israel Defense Forces since 2011.
But hopes that the hundreds of millions of dollars Israel spent developing Iron Dome would be repaid in export contracts have never been met. Six years ago, Rafael and Raytheon announced a partnership to market the system in the United States but until now American military planners have said it didn’t meet any of their defense needs.
Israel has also tried to market the Iron Dome system to other countries but without any reported success. In 2010, Singapore was reportedly planning to buy the system and last December Azerbaijan’s Defense Industry Minister Yavar Jamalov said his country had reached a decision to buy it.
A sale to the U.S. could reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on how many batteries and missiles it acquires. Since the Pentagon doesn’t buy directly from foreign companies, Raytheon would be the primary contractor and Rafael would act as subcontractor.
Also Iron Dome will be facing competition from competing systems, including ones using drone technology.
Meanwhile, U.S. army officials said on Monday that a brigade of Abrams tanks equipped with Israel’s Trophy armor protection system will be deployed in Europe in 2020.
The website military.com said the Pentagon is also testing other APS systems for the Stryker combat vehicle and for the M2 and M3 Bradley fighting vehicle, but development is lagging behind Trophy in development.