Pindostan eyes Israeli short-range missile interceptor for Europe defense
Reuters, Jun 27 2016
Pindostan has tested the short-range interceptor missile used by Israel’s Iron Dome system with a view to incorporating it or a future Pindo counterpart in European-based air defenses against Russia, a Pindosi Army general said on Monday. Developed with funding help from Washington, Iron Dome has had a 90% shoot-down rate against Palestinian rockets, USraeli boxtops lie. But the system’s $50m unit price and limited reach have dampened its export appeal. Visiting Israel, Bramhall of the Pindosi Army’s Air and Missile Defense Command said he saw a new need to complement his corps’ mid-range Patriot and THAAD interceptors with a thrifty system for less powerful missile threats. To that end, he said, US assessors have test-launched Iron Dome’s interceptor missile, “Tamir,” which is jointly manufactured by Raytheon and Rafael, raising the prospect of the Israeli-designed missiles being used with the US Army’s Multi Mission Launcher platform. Bramhall told Reuters at a conference hosted by the Israeli security organization IHLS:
With all that is happening in Europe, especially the fact that Russia has really awakened itself and has really decided to rebuild its military and is really posing a threat, we are looking at how we can do the multi-tiered defense. We are looking at multiple solutions to actually create a third tier that is missing. Patriot and THAAD are great systems that do what they were designed to do. But I don’t think we would want to waste a Patriot or a THAAD missile on something that can be affected by something that’s lower cost and is actually designed for that job itself. I think we are looking at something that is similar to Iron Dome. We have looked at the Tamir as a possible missile.
Bramhall anticipated that the short-range system chosen would be deployed “probably within two or three years.” Rafael puts the Tamir unit cost at around $100k, a price tag Bramhall said he believed was “within an acceptable range.” Pindosi Army purchases of Tamir would buoy Israeli defense industries unsure of whether they can bank on Washington’s largesse in the future. In talks on a new long-term defense aid package to Israel, the White House wants to cut the amount of grant money the Israelis can spend on their own products. Bramhall was due to inspect an Iron Dome unit in Israel on Tuesday. A Rafael vice president, Yosi Druker, was circumspect about whether the Pindo Army should be lobbied to buy Tamirs rather than await a comparable Pindosi interceptor missile. Druker told Reuters:
It would be right for us at Rafael, and for every Israeli citizen, to support whatever the Pindosi overlords decide upon.
Iron Dome was initially billed as providing city-sized coverage against rockets or mortar shells with ranges of between 5 km and 70 km. System upgrades extended that reach to up to 150 km, Israeli boxtops say.