IAI Scores First “Iron Dome” Related Export Order
Fresh off of a small contract to provide its EL/M-2112 ground tracking radars to coalition forces operating in Afghanistan, IAI ELTA recently announced a $50 million export contract for the radar component of Israel’s “Iron Dome” rocket/artillery defense system. That system competes with laser-based alternatives like SkyGuard, and shorter-range options like the Phalanx Centurion, as a protective option against shells and rockets with ranges of 4-70 km. Constant artillery barrages of such projectiles, aimed at Israeli towns and cities, was one of the main triggers of the 2006 Lebanon War.
The unnamed customer ordered several of the radars only, “for integration into a national self-protection system,” after a series of successful Iron Dome tests. Those January 2010 tests demonstrated radar tracking, the ability to ignore projectiles that would not hit protected areas, and successful interceptions using RAFAEL’s low-cost “Tamir” missile. At the time, Flight International reported interest from “2 Asian countries” in the system; based on security needs and customer status, the top 3 assumptions would be South Korea, India, and Singapore.
IAI spokespeople confirmed that the radars are an export contract, and note other reports of interest from coalition forces in Afghanistan. IAI’s official release is vaguer, but does say that: “Additional foreign customers have shown growing interest in the “Iron Dome” System and its subsystems, indicating large contracts in the future.” Meanwhile, Israel’s program for the whole Iron Dome system is on-track for operational deployment by summer 2010.