Saab is marketing a “new generation” version of the RBS 70 short-range surface-to-air missile, which has been in continuous production for nearly 40 years.
Raytheon will market the Rafael Iron Dome mobile air defense system in the U.S., the companies announced. Raytheon and Haifa, Israel-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems also are teaming to offer ballistic missile defense and target missile systems.
The U.S. Department of State has issued a new report warning that thousands of man-portable air defense systems (Manpads) remain unaccounted for and may be “outside the control of national governments,” posing threats to the commercial aviation industry and military aircraft around the world.
Having been developed in some urgency, Rafael’s Iron Dome dual-mission defense system is now operational, and in April an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) battery proved its worth for the first time when several Grad rockets were intercepted after launch from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.
The Arrow BMD (ballistic missile defense) system that now protects Israel was co-developed and produced by Boeing and Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI), but funded mostly by the U.S. MDA. Designed to offer better protection than the Patriot PAC-3, development began in the late 1980s with Israeli industry providing the L-band radar and the command and control system.
The Patriot air defense missile system was designed by Raytheon and first fielded in 1984. Four years later, a missile defense capability was added, mainly through changes to the guidance software. In the 1991 Gulf War, the system had mixed success against Iraqi short-range Scud missiles, and it became clear that its blast-fragmentation warhead was inadequate to the task.
Are the nations of Europe serious about comprehensive ballistic missile defense (BMD)? Or are they happy to let America provide the only effective shield over their cities and populations? Despite a ringing declaration of intent at the NATO summit meeting in Lisbon last November, these questions remain unanswered.
On the first day of the IDEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi, the UAE announced that it is to upgrade 23 Black Hawk helicopters to an armed UH-60M standard. Worth over $270 million, the contract was placed with Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, with the work to be performed mainly by AMMROC, a joint venture between ADAT and Sikorsky. The U.S. company also received a $17.6 million contract for UH-60 training.
Last year the production version of the Saab BAMSE (Bofors advanced missile system evaluation) entered service with the Swedish armed forces and now the company is promoting the air defense system for export.
Italy’s Elettronica has entered the last phase of development of its directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system for the anti-missile protection market, and is due to complete ground tests and flight trials by the end of 2009. The project was launched in 2007 to create a system that would protect aircraft from infrared-guided (“heat-seeking”) surface-to-air missiles, and in particular, man-portable air defense systems.