Singapore To Buy Israeli Iron Dome
By WENDELL MINNICK
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 Horowitz, 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.
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.