How Quickly Are Israel and the US Building an Iron Dome Missile Plant?

The American company RTX yesterday, on October 26, released an official message, which states that its Raytheon division, together with the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, agreed to build a production facility that will manufacture Tamir missiles and its American variant SkyHunter for the Iron Dome system (Iron Dome).

In total, the companies should invest 33 million dollars in creating new production facilities. They plan to start building the facility by the end of the year, and the production of rockets should start in 2025 — that is, a maximum of a little more than two years should be spent on the plant’s construction, according to RTX.

To implement the project, the parties created a joint venture, Raytheon-Rafael Area Protection Systems; the plant will be built in East Camden, in the state of Arkansas.

RTX notes that the built facilities will produce missiles “both for the US Marine Corps and for other allies.” Tom Laliberty, president of RTX’s Land & Air division, noted that the new facility will be “the first universal manufacturing facility in the U.S. to help support armed forces and allies around the world with a highly effective air defense missile.”

However, the AP edition notes that according to RTX representative Jeff Shockey, the plant will initially produce about 325 SkyHunter missiles per year and eventually 1,000 to 2,000 Tamir missiles per year.

In the context of this news, it is worth mentioning first of all that the same Raytheon-Rafael Area Protection Systems joint venture was created quite a long time ago – more than three years ago, in the summer of 2020.

It will be recalled that the USA considered the “Iron Dome” system as a temporary solution while they created their complex within the framework of the Indirect Fires Protection Capability (IFPC) program. The US military received the first Iron Dome battery in 2020 and the second in 2021; while recently, it became known that the US would return these two batteries to Israel, this information was confirmed in particular by US Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder.

At the same time, the American version of the Tamir missile, called SkyHunter, it is used in the Medium-Range Intercept Capability (MRIC) complex, which is used by the US Marines and is based on the Israeli Iron Dome.