Is Iron Dome on Its Way to Australia? Major Israeli Defense Contractor Rafael Opening Melbourne Branch

Australia is earmarking billions of dollars for arms procurement, set to include both Iron Dome and Trophy missile interception systems for tanks and armored personnel carriers

Iron Dome in action: Photo shows the Iron Dome anti-ballistic system, placed in Ashkelon, firing a missile to intercept a rocket that had been fired from Gaza Strip, on July 5, 2014
Tsafrir Abayov, AP

Australia is earmarking billions of dollars for arms procurement over the years to come, and could become the first to import Iron Dome missile interception systems, made by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. To meet the anticipated increase in demand, Rafael is opening up a branch in Melbourne.

Iron Dome systems aside, the Israeli defense company anticipates that the Australian military will be buying "Trophy" missile interception systems for tanks and armored personnel carriers, and Spike LR 2 precision-guided missile systems for long-range air defense, which the Israeli army has been using against rocket fire from Syria.

The Melbourne—based branch will also pursue joint manufacturing ventures with Australian defense companies, Rafael says.

Australia already uses certain Rafael systems, including remote-controlled weapons, naval systems, and guidance systems for airstrikes.

Giora Katz, Rafaels senior vice president for marketing and business development, commented that opening the company in Australia complies with Rafaels global strategy of entering into local collaborations, to meet the mounting demand to buy locally.

Rafael already has more than 100 collaborative projects around the world, including a new missile production plant in India, Katz says, referring to the company's announcement from August. Rafael also recently signed a partnership agreement with the Australian company Bisalloy Steel to supply metal to make military systems, and with Varley, to create a joint infrastructure for producing Rafaels Spike missiles in Australia, Katz said.