Israeli firm adapts Iron Dome for intercepts at sea
By Barbara Opall-Rome
TEL AVIV — Rafael Ltd. is developing ship-based versions of Iron Dome, the system credited with intercepting nearly 90 percent of the thousands of Gaza-launched rockets designated as direct threats to the Israeli home front in last summer’s 50-day war.
The state-owned developer and prime contractor for Israel’s Iron Dome will unveil its maritime point defense concept at the annual Euronaval exhibition in Paris that starts Monday and runs through Nov. 1.
Dubbed C-Dome, Rafael said the system aims to defend offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), small Corvettes and other small ships against saturation attacks from a range of “current and future high performance threats.”
The system is in very early stages of concept development, executives here said.
Rafael data released Sunday said C-Dome will feature the same Iron Dome high-lethality maneuvering missiles that have scored more than 1200 operational intercepts since initial deployment in 2011.
In the envisioned maritime version, up to ten canister-stored interceptors will be loaded into a modular vertical launch unit installed under deck.
But unlike ground-based batteries, Rafael says C-Dome won’t require dedicated radar or command and control. Instead, the firm is designing the system to be supported by the ship’s own on-board fire control radar and combat management system.
Rafael said C-Dome is being designed for simultaneous engagement of multiple targets in littoral waters or deep at sea, with unrestricted, 360-degree coverage of defended platforms.
“The C-Dome interceptor is extremely agile, with a high rate-of-turn that enables interception of even the most maneuverable targets,” according to marketing data released Oct. 26.
A Rafael program executive estimated that it could take less than a year to build the first prototype system. He said the firm has launched preliminary discussions with potential users, including the Israel Navy, to hone its understanding of the operational requirements that will drive future development.
Uzi Rubin, an international consultant on missile defense and former director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, welcomed Rafael’s decision to go public with its sea-based concept.
“I’ve long supported maritime applications for Iron Dome,” Rubin said. “There’s no reason why its unprecedented, combat validated capabilities should not be leveraged for intercepts at sea,” he said.
Source : DefenseNews (Etats-Unis)
Relayé par : Nicolas Trussardi