Israel ready to share Iron Dome technology with US

“We are ready to share the technology of the Iron Dome … for the defense of the United States by American forces,” Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren said during a speech Tuesday in Washington. 

{mosads}The weapon, built by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, has been critical in repelling short-range rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, according to Pentagon officials and their counterparts in Jerusalem. 

In March alone, the three Iron Dome systems deployed in southern Israel successfully intercepted 80 percent of the 300 rockets and mortars fired into the country from Gaza, Defense Department spokesman George Little said on March 27. 

That type of battlefield success prompted DOD to funnel more than $270 million into the Israeli weapons program so far. House lawmakers in April to set aside $680 million to assist Israel in buying the Iron Dome weapon in its version of the fiscal 2013 defense spending bill. 

The weapon’s effectiveness also drew the interest of U.S. defense firms and their allies on Capitol Hill. As a result, House defense lawmakers agreed to the Iron Dome money on the condition that Israel hand over rights to the system to the American weapons manufacturers. 

Oren’s comments on Tuesday indicate that Jerusalem may be willing to make that deal. 

While defense industry leaders were encouraged by Oren’s speech, the announcement may mean bad news for one particular weapons firm.

Should a U.S.-version of the Iron Dome enter production, it could mean the end of Raytheon’s premiere anti-missile system known as the Patriot. 

NATO recently approved a deal allowing Turkey to buy several Patriot anti-missile systems after Ankara initially requested the missile defense weapons in November, as a way to keep the brewing Syrian civil war from bleeding over into Turkish territory. 

In October, Turkish lawmakers took the controversial step of authorizing military action inside Syria after Assad’s forces launched a mortar attack against targets into Turkish territory. 

Shortly after the cross border attack, Turkey Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan met with NATO leaders to discuss possible action by the alliance against Assad’s forces under Article 4 of the NATO charter. 

— Julian Pecquet contributed to this report


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