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Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, an Israeli-based defence 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 finalising a site location before the end of the year. 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.

“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 defence of their service members and critical infrastructure,” said Raytheon Missiles & Defense Systems’ Sam Deneke, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense business execution.

Iron Dome1
Iron Dome

“We are excited about this new stage in our partnership with Raytheon and proud of our US 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 US production of Iron Dome and are pleased to increase manufacturing and bring SkyHunter to the US.”

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.

Interestingly, the US Army announced in March it was scrapping plans to add to Iron Dome purchases it had already made because Israel refused to share the source code for the system. Last year, the Army announced plans to acquire two Iron Dome batteries to provide US forces an interim cruise missile defence capability, as well as explore full adoption of the Israeli-developed system for a program called Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2-Intercept program. The Army earmarked over US$1 billion for the project.

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