Pentagon showing increasing interest in purchasing Israel’s Iron Dome, which was developed in collaboration with the US’s Raytheon Company, and currently on display at the 3-day Association of the US Army convention.
By Udi Etsion
The Iron Dome missile defense system has been installed in Washington DC as part of a presentation during the annual meeting of the Association of the US Army (AUSA) showcasing the latest radar technology and operational launchers.
The three-day meeting, which opened on Monday, is designed to deliver the Army’s message by highlighting the capabilities of its organizations and presenting a wide range of industry products and services.
Designed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems (RADS) and Israel Aircraft Industries, the Israeli rocket interceptor has attracted the attention of the US Department of Defense which has begun showing interest in purchasing it for the use of its forces stationed in Europe and other locations dotted across the globe.
Currently, the US Army does not possess a similar unmanned system capable of shooting down incoming rockets, planes, helicopters and drones.
One year ago, the Americans successfully conducted tests with the Iron Dome which managed to intercept a drone using a missile nicknamed the “Tamir.”
The AUSA meeting is expected to be attended by high-ranking government officials who will be given the opportunity to inspect the system up close.
The Iron Dome battery is installed on the premises of the major US defense contractor Raytheon Company which collaborated with its Israeli counterparts in its design, development and production.
Since the Americans and the Israelis got to work on creating the technological feat, which began in earnest under the Obama administration, the US government continues to invest more than $1.4 million in the system to finance the completion of its development, manufacturing and in creating ten batteries and more missile stockpiles.
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Almost two months ago, a first-of-its-kind Iron Dome test took place, which used interceptor components produced by American manufacturers.
The new system assembly was part of a collaborative manufacturing agreement inked on the condition Israel would receive substantial financial assistance for the system while Raytheon would be tasked with manufacturing 50 percent of its components on American soil.
Cooperation with Raytheon is intended to promote the sale of the Iron Dome to the US Army, which does not usually acquire weapons systems directly from foreign companies unless products are developed in conjunction with American companies.
Nevertheless, the Israeli company will have to compete with other weapons-manufacturing giants recommending their innovation to the Pentagon such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
On September 4, the US Army began a series of tests in new Mexico using missile defense systems, including Iron Dome, intended to provide cover for it soldiers.
So far, the system has already demonstrated its military worth, registering 1,500 interceptions of various types of rockets fired at Israel, with an impressive direct hit rate of 90 percent.
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