RAFAEL Highlights Flexible Response in Air & Missile Defense

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Iron dome is shown for the first time in its new mobile configuration. Photo: Tamir Eshel, DEfense-Update

Missile technology is one of the highlights of RAFAEl’s display at this year’s Paris Airshow. The company displays here a range of air defense missiles – including Stunner, heading for full system-testing this year, the Iron Dome Counter-rocket missile system, recently combat- proven in Southern Israel and the Medium Range Spyder, shown here as a complete mobile system. Airborne ordnance on display includes precision guided air/ground weapons (the Spice family), multi-purpose guided missiles (Spike family) and air/air missiles (Python and Derby missiles).

Iron dome is shown for the first time in its new mobile configuration. Photo: Tamir Eshel, DEfense-Update
Rafael's Missiles Family. Photo: Noam Eshel, Defense-Update

“Our system philosophy provides users with maximum flexibility to employ their assets achieving mission success, even under changing conditions” said VP Lova Drori, “our solutions are employing several levels of flexibility, maximizing effectiveness and reducing ‘cost per effective kill’. This concept enables users to gain maximum utility from such systems, without compromising on effectiveness and level of protection.” For example, the Spyder system automatically selects the least costly interceptor for each target, by launching a Python missile as a priority available, reserving the more expensive Derby missiles for more challenging intercepts. The ratio between Python and Derby missiles contained in the system can also be changed dynamically, to reflect changing operational needs. A different approach is employed in the Iron Dome system, which automatically prioritizes intercept strategies and decisions, based on projected impact points, ignoring targets that pose no risk (projected to hit empty areas). David Sling employs other optimization techniques, such as assigning targets across distributed fire units, as part of a multi-layered defense system.

Lova Drori, Rafael's Executive VP Marketing. Credit: Rafael

“The development of the Iron Dome has demonstrated the unique capability of Rafael to expedite new solutions, meeting urgent operational requirements in record time. While offering breakthrough capability of intercepting rockets in flight, Iron Dome does not represent a technological breakthrough. We could not develop new technologies on such a short program, therefore, we have used technologies and methods that were already available in-house. Through the development of Iron Dome these elements were matured, tested and integrated into the system. To deal with high risks, we examined different solutions in parallel processes, enabling designers some flexibility to meet the tight schedule. This unmatched scientific base enables Rafael to provide unique solutions at relatively low risk and short time. The operational success of Iron Dome and Trophy clearly demonstrates that Rafael is well positioned to take-on such challenges. Overall, we invested about US$ 60 million in the development, in order to meet the tight development and production schedule” Drori stressed.

“Iron Dome offers a unique solution to an uncommon problem, yet we see a potential to export these systems to countries seeking protection of strategic and critical facilities, especially along coastal sites and offshore.” Drori said, “They can also protect forward, temporary bases, primarily peacekeeping and forward deployments in unstable areas. For these applications, Rafael will expand its system solutions with complementary capabilities addressing short range threats.”