3 countries interested in Iron Dome - report

"Israel Defense": The US and two Asian countries are interested in the successfully tested anti-missile system.

"Israel Defense" reports that three countries are interested in procuring the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, which proved its operational capability earlier this year. Two Asian countries are actively examining the system, made by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., and military representative may soon visit Israel for a demonstration.

A defense official told "Israel Defense", "There is a potential market of hundreds of millions of dollars."

A US expert team is due to shortly arrive in Israel to examine Iron Dome. "The Americans understand that this is the only solution against rockets and mortars threatening local forces around the world," the source said.

Until Iron Dome became operational, and successfully intercepted Grad rockets that Hamas fired against Ashkelon, the US considered Iron Dome as only a partial solution. But the Americans changed their minds, following the speed at which the system was made operational and the information provided on tests and operational interceptions. Until then, the US was focused on the Magic Wand anti-missile system that Rafael is jointly developing with Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) in part with US funding.

An Israeli defense source says that the US's understanding of Iron Dome came late. "They now realize that there has been a technological achievement that provides a response to a huge problem of theirs," said the source.

One of Iron Dome's most important successes is its radar system developed by Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) subsidiary Elta Systems Ltd. The radar can distinguish between threats to a populated area and incoming rockets that will hit open ground, avoiding firing interceptors unnecessarily, and preventing the enemy from saturating defenses.

The Iron Dome system costs $15 million and each interceptor missile costs $40,000.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 14, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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