Israel unveils portable Iron Dome at Paris air show

Aerospace company Rafael says new I-Dome is an ‘all-in-one’ truck-mounted aerial defense battery; US military reportedly interested

The I-Dome, a portable version of the Iron Dome missile defense system, made by Israeli aerospace company Rafael. (screen capture: Channel 13/Rafael)
The I-Dome, a portable version of the Iron Dome missile defense system, made by Israeli aerospace company Rafael. (screen capture: Channel 13/Rafael)

Israeli aerospace company Rafael has unveiled a portable Iron Dome missile defense battery, promising deployed troops the same protection the original system provided for civilian populations.

The I-Dome, designed to protect troops from rockets, mortars and UAV attacks, was among several new Israeli-made weapons systems featured this week at the Paris Air Show.

The scaled-down missile battery fits on the back of a large flatbed truck, making the system easily transportable. Its cartridge holds 10 Tamir interceptor misses, instead of the 20 used by its larger Iron Dome counterpart.

“Basically, we put a missile launcher, radar and a control system in the cab of a vehicle,” Rafael CEO Pini Yungman told Channel 13 from the Paris expo. “This array can offer the same protection as the Iron Dome battery.”

“The I-Dome is an all-in-one system,” he said.

The Rafael-made Iron Dome has been used regularly in Israel since 2011 to shield civilians from rocket fire emanating from the Gaza Strip, most prominently during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. During a recent barrage of nearly 700 rockets and mortars fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, the IDF said Iron Dome intercepted 86 percent of the projectiles headed for populated areas, similar to previous rounds of intensive rocket fire.

Earlier this year, Israel’s Defense Ministry and the US Department of Defense announced that the US Army would purchase two Iron Dome batteries to defend deployed American troops from aerial threats.

The US plans to deploy the Iron Dome batteries next year as a first step in a new $1.7 billion project to both provide American troops an interim defense against cruise missiles and also explore long-term adoption of Iron Dome components for use in a major US air and missile defense system.

A picture taken from the southern village of Netiv Ha’asara shows missiles fired from Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system intercepting rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on May 4, 2019. (Thomas Coex/AFP)

The decision came after the US military last year conducted an internal review of its short-range air defense needs to assess whether Iron Dome or a Norwegian or US-developed system was best suited to address a gap in defenses against potential Russian and Chinese cruise missile threats. Ultimately, the US decided to purchase the Iron Dome from Rafael, which promised to deliver the batteries by 2020, three years before the Norwegian system was slated to be completed.

According to Channel 13, the US military has also expressed interest in purchasing several portable I-Dome batteries from Israel.

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