“Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph! Your enemies shall come fawning to you, and you shall tread upon their backs.” (Deuteronomy 33:29)
American-based international defense corporation, Raytheon, the world’s largest producer of guided missiles, has won the contract to produce the Tamir missiles for Israel’s Iron Dome batteries. The contract is estimated to be worth $149.3 million.
The Iron Dome system, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, had its most active period of use during Operation Protective Edge this past summer. The missile defense system was credited with intercepting over 700 missiles fired by Hamas terrorists in Gaza at Israeli population centers.
The majority of the 4,500 rockets fired from Gaza over the 50-day conflict fell in uninhabited areas in Israel, or in some cases, inside Gaza. Iron Dome has a success rate of about 90 percent.
According to a statement released by Raytheon, the contract is meant to expand the supply Israel holds of Tamir missiles to be at the ready for future use by Iron Dome.
“Raytheon will utilize its extensive technology resources and supplier network to provide a second source of supply for essential Iron Dome interceptor components. Iron Dome has proven itself time and again by protecting Israel’s population from incoming rockets, artillery and mortars,” said Taylor Lawrence, President of Raytheon Missile Systems, one of the four businesses that work together to make up the larger Raytheon company.
“The sourcing of Tamir interceptor components in the US will go a long way to ensuring sufficient volumes of available Tamir missiles for Israel’s defense.”
The move is also being interpreted as part of a larger US strategy to adopt the Israeli developed technology of Iron Dome.
“With more than 1,000 successful intercepts, Tamir is the only combat proven counter-rocket, artillery, and mortar interceptor available for US and coalition partners today,” the statement added.
The two companies, Rafael and Raytheon, have also been working together to develop the Stunner missile that is slated to be used as a part of Israel’s medium-range David’s Sling missile defense system.
Yedidia Yaari, former commander of the Israeli Navy and current CEO of Rafael, praised the cooperation between the two companies.
“The partnership between the Missile Defense Agency and the Israeli Missile Defense Organization has been extraordinary,” he said. “We’re very appreciative of the US’s support for this life-saving system. Maintaining Iron Dome’s supply gives Israelis great peace of mind.”
The Iron Dome is a huge step up from the previous missile defense system that Israel had in place (the Patriot) which was also developed byRaytheon. Iron Dome scores around 90 percent effectiveness in shooting down incoming missiles versus anywhere from 40 percent to as little as 9 percent for the Patriot.
Rafael’s new bulk order for Iron Dome parts valued at two to three times as large as the cost of all the Tamir missiles that were fired during Operation Protective Edge.