Raytheon Makes Deal to Make Iron Dome Defense System in US
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(August 3, 2020) — Major US armsmaker Raytheon Technologies has announced a joint venture with Israel’s Rafael to make Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system inside the United States, with an eye toward sending it to “allies across the globe.”
Raytheon emphasized how successful Israel says Iron Dome is, citing a 90% success rate. That’s used to intercept the makeshift Palestinian rockets, and it is broadly untested with respect to proper missiles or other weapons.
MIT has done studies on Iron Dome as an interceptor missile, concluding that the success rate is a “deception” and that it is a system that “hardly works,” and almost certainly would have a success rate less than 10 percent.
Historically, this was important because US aid is used to pay for the Israeli system. If the system doesn’t work, however, it’s likely something other potential customers may want to be aware of.
Raytheon and Rafael to Build Iron Dome in US
WASHINGTON (August 3, 2020) — American firm Raytheon Technologies and Israeli-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems have formed a joint venture to build the Iron Dome missile defense system in the United States, the companies announced Aug. 3.
Under the name Raytheon Rafael Area Protection Systems, the partnership is being set up to build a first-ever Iron Dome “all-up-round” facility stateside. The facility will build Iron Dome systems, the Tamir interceptor and launcher, and the SkyHunter missile (the US version of Tamir), according to a Rafael-issued statement.
Tamir and SkyHunter are capable of intercepting cruise missiles, unmanned aircraft, rockets, artillery, mortars and other threats.
The partnership expects to finalize a site location before the end of the year, the statement said.
“This will be the first Iron Dome all-up-round facility outside of Israel, and it will help the US Department of Defense and allies across the globe obtain the system for defense of their service members and critical infrastructure,” Sam Deneke, vice president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s land warfare and air defense business.
Rafael and Raytheon have had a long partnership developing and manufacturing Iron Dome. The system is widely fielded in Israel and, according to Rafael, is “the world’s most-used system with more than 2,500 operational intercepts and a success rate exceeding 90 percent.”
The US Army has chosen Iron Dome as an interim capability to counter cruise missiles while it continues to develop a future Indirect Fires Protection Capability, or IFPC, to counter those threats as well as enemy drones, rockets, artillery and mortars. Congress mandated the service buy two batteries to cover urgent cruise missile defense gaps, and another set of two if the Army didn’t come up with a way forward for its enduring IFPC.
While the Army has said it will not buy all-up Iron Dome systems as part of the IFPC program, officials developing the capability are looking at the possibility of incorporating parts of Iron Dome in the final solution.
The Army plans to field Iron Dome by the end of the year, but it will still take time to train troops on the system before deployment. Some lawmakers are urging the Army to rapidly deploy the systems to the Middle East, arguing US and coalition forces there need the protection from Iran and its proxies.
In and analysis conducted by the Army, it was concluded the Iron Dome launcher and the Tamir interceptor’s performances are “highly reliant” on their own battle management systems and multimission radars. The analysis also determined that the launcher and interceptor would be a viable option for an enduring IFPC solution as long as it worked on the Army’s future Integrated Air-and-Missile Defense Battle Command System, or IBCS, which is under development, according to a report sent to Congress earlier this year.
But Gen. Mike Murray, the head of Army Futures Command, which is in charge of the service’s modernization efforts, testified before the House Armed Services Committee earlier this year that the Army has struggled to integrate Iron Dome into its IBCS system, mostly because the Israeli government has refused to provide critical source code needed for the integration.
The Tamir interceptor’s performance data proves its effectiveness when used within the Iron Dome system, but since data is lacking, it’s uncertain how well it would perform when linked through IBCS to the Sentinel radar, which is used to alert air defense weapons of threats, the report noted.
The service will conduct a shoot-off of best available options for integration into an enduring IFPC solution in the third quarter of fiscal 2021.
Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ Success Likely a Myth
Israel Claims 84 Percent Success Rate, But Real Figure Could Be Far Lower
(March 12, 2013) — MIT’s Dr. Theodore Postol, an expert on missile success rates who was the driving force behind debunking US military claims about Patriot Missiles in the early 1990s has turned his attention on Israel’s extremely short-range Iron Dome missiles, drawing similar conclusions.
“If the interceptor is flying a crossing or diving trajectory compared to an incoming rocket, then you are not going to destroy the warhead,” noted Dr. Postol, saying that only 100% head-on collisions between Iron Dome and a rocket could reasonably be expected to destroy them.
Israel’s military is claiming an 84 percent success rate from the November Gaza War, a level Postol termed a “deception,” speculating that the claims may have been an attempt to convince the public a ground invasion of the strip wasn’t warranted after weeks of sabre-rattling.
Dr. Postol says that the real figure is likely in the single digits, somewhere around 5 percent and certainly no more than 10 percent. He says it is important that the US be aware of its limited utility since they are providing the bulk of the funding for a system that “hardly works.”
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