US-based Raytheon Technologies and Israel’s RAFAEL have signed a joint venture to establish an Iron Dome weapon system production facility in the United States.
According to Raytheon, the new partnership, called Raytheon RAFAEL Area Protection Systems, anticipates finalizing 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 defense of their service members and critical infrastructure,” said Raytheon Missiles & Defense Systems’ Sam Deneke, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense business execution.
The US Army will receive the first Iron Dome systems from Rafael’s Israel facilities in December 2020 and February 2021, after which the batteries will go through initial testing before being fielded to army formations.
The army plans to begin phased testing of the systems, as the missiles, launchers and radar go from the assembly line in Israel to White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to undergo an equipment fielding and training program.
“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.”