07 Maret 2010

Singapore To Buy Israeli Iron Dome

7 Maret 2010

Rafael­'s Iron Dome the short-range air de­fense system, effective against artillery rounds and rockets (photo : Defense Update)

SINGAPORE — Singapore is moving for­ward on the procurement of the Rafael­built Iron Dome for a short-range air de­fense system effective against artillery rounds and rockets, said defense industry sources at the Singapore Airshow.

Built by Rafael Advanced Defense Sys­tems, Iron Dome can shoot down incom­ing rockets and missiles from 4 to 70 kilo­meters away in all weather conditions.

The Iron Dome radar detects and identi­fies the rocket or artillery shell launch and monitors its trajectory. Target data are transmitted to the battle management and weapon control system for processing and engagement.

“Right now, we’ve almost finished devel­opment,” said Joseph Hor-owitz, Rafael’s business development and marketing di­rector for air defense systems. “We are now manufacturing the systems. Since January, we are starting on the first bat­talion. By midyear, there will be an IOC [initial operational capability].” However, Horowitz denied any Iron Dome deal with Singapore, saying there is “no Singapore involvement at this time.” Singapore’s Ministry of Defense also de­clined comment.

Two images capturing the the intercept of a 122mm GRAD rocket, by a Tamir missile, during a recent Iron-Dome system test. (photos : Defense Update)

Raytheon promoted its Centurion Weapon System, a land-based Phalanx Weapon System, for the competition until 2008, when Singapore dropped all interest in it.

The silence occurred after Singapore se­lected Rafael’s SPYDER (Surface-to-air Python and Derby) short-range air defense system, a U.S. defense industry source said.

The SPYDER beat U.K.-based MBDA Missile Systems’ Vertical Launch MICA Short Range Air Defence System and Raytheon’s Surface-Launched Advanced Air-to-Air Missile system as replacements for Singapore’s aging Rapier Low Level Air Defense system.
The two deals may be connected. Singa­pore wants to integrate its air defense sys­tems under one umbrella.

Horowitz confirmed that “some of the SPYDER elements could be integrated with Iron Dome, but not the radar,” but said Singapore “did not fund the program.” A U.S. defense industry source said part of the problem is that Rafael can offer Sin­gapore technology transfers that are re­stricted under U.S. laws and regulations.

Rafael has moved into low-rate produc­tion of Iron Dome missile interceptors for the Israeli military in November after an 18-month program to reduce technical risks associated with the active defense system against short-range threats.

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