Israel and USA to Jointly Develop SRBM Missile Defense
Defense Update editor Tamir Eshel writes to let us know that Raytheon Company and Rafael Armament Development Authority have been selected by the Israel Ministry of Defense’ Defense Research and development Directorate (DDRD) to develop a new terminal missile defense interceptor for low-cost, short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) threats. Israeli planners see SRBMs as cheap, plentiful, easily concealed, largely exempt from international arms control accords, and capable of being transformed into deadly threats if/ when fitted with unconventional warheads and deployed in large quantities.
Accordingly, Israel and the US have agreed to jointly develop a new Short Range Missile Defense (SRMD) capability that will complement its existing Arrow and Patriot PAC-2 GEM+ systems, one optimized via its design and cost to defend against rockets with ranges of 70 – 200 km…
The new system will establish a lower tier, complementing the Israeli Arrow theater area air defense (THAAD) system, and will be managed by the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) which already supervises Israel’s overall ballistic missile defense program. It will be based on an interceptor under development by RAFAEL, in collaboration with Patriot missile system manufacturer Raytheon.
The interceptor proposed by Raytheon and RAFAEL will be designed for all-weather, day and night “hit to kill” intercept, which is similar to Lockheed’s Patriot PAC-3 rather than the Raytheon PAC-2 family’s proximity fuse approach. The new missile must also be low cost in order to have sustainable economics vs. the low-cost 70 km rockets out there, and must be optimized for the trajectory and short flight time of the threats it is meant to counter.
“Raytheon’s cooperation with Rafael ensures that Rafael’s multi-mission interceptor is designed from the start for seamless insertion into U.S. terminal missile defense systems. Our approach provides the U.S. Army with a low-cost extended air defense option for the future,” said Michael Booen, Raytheon vice president of Advanced Missile Defense programs.
Defense Update notes that the RAFAEL/Raytheon team won against another plan, proposed by Israel’s IAI/MLM in conjunction with American firms Boeing and ATK. They had proposed an Arrow-derivative missile interceptor, augmented by a lower tier RAM missile solution based on a low cost rocket to be developed. See Raytheon release.