A fully American version of Iron Dome is edging towards development to provide protection to American forces overseas, the U.S.-based Defense News website reported Tuesday. The system is said to be one of three being considered.
"Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Raytheon, its U.S. partner for Iron Dome production, are working to transform the combat-proven Israeli interceptor into a fully American system in defense of forward-deployed U.S. forces," Defense News said.
Iron Dome was widely deployed in 2014 to protect Israeli population centers from rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
American versions of Iron Dome's Tamir interceptors are being offered under Raytheon's SkyHunter brand to defend the U.S. Army against threats ranging from cruise missiles and drone aircraft to rockets, artillery shells and mortars, Defense News noted, adding that the Tamir has already been adapted for use in the U.S. Army's Multi-Missile Launcher.
Half of the American funding in recent years for Iron Dome has been going to Raytheon, which produces components for the Rafael-designed Tamir interceptor, Defense News reported, citing Israeli government and industry sources.
“The minute that the US decides to procure Iron Dome, we will transfer all the knowledge and production file to Raytheon,” Yosi Druker, the head of Rafael's air superiority systems division told Defense News.
Although Iron Dome's Tamir is just one of three interceptors under evaluation by the American military, Defense News cited comments by Druker, who said the system's low cost and proven track record should give it a competitive advantage.
John Patterson, public relations director for Raytheon Missile Systems, declined to comment, but said his company has “an excellent working relationship with Rafael.”