Despite its outstanding operational success, Israeli short-range rocket interception system Iron Dome is a commercial failure. Not a single country has bought the system, US military affairs weekly "Defense News" reports.
Iron Dome, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., has become a brand name known worldwide, following its performance in the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas, in which dozens of rockets fired from Gaza at Israel were destroyed in flight. There were reports that the system would be exported to India, Singapore and South Korea, and even to Persian Gulf states, but a Ministry of Defense source said that not a single sale had been made.
Ministry of Defense and defense industry sources said that the main reason for this was that there were hardly any countries subject to constant rocket fire in the same way as Israel. Since becoming operational, the system intercepted over 1,500 rockets, with a 90% success rate in relation to the number of rockets launched, but most countries are not in need of this capability.
Rafael managers told "Defense News" that they aimed to change this situation by broadening Iron Dome's range of missions to include a maritime defense version, and the addition of the ability to intercept multirotor drones and destroy mortar shells and smart bombs.
“What the world has seen so far with Iron Dome is just the tip of the iceberg. Its footprint is much larger and its multi-mission versatility is much broader than anything we’ve seen in action,” "Defense News" quotes Rafael executive Ari Sacher as saying.
An initial trial of a naval version of Iron Dome was carried out a month ago. Brig. Gen. Yossi Ashkenazi, Head of the Israel Navy Supply Division, said that the navy planned to equip the Sa'ar 6 corvettes currently being built in Germany and its older Sa'ar 5 corvettes with the naval version of the system.
In April, Rafael and its US partner Raytheon carried out a trial of Iron Dome at a US military base in New Mexico. In the trial, the interceptor rocket destroyed a multirotor drone. Raytheon produces major components of the system's Tamir interceptor rocket in the US.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 19, 2016
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