Indian army shows interest in Iron Dome interceptor

The Indian army may become one of the first foreign customers for Rafael’s Iron Dome rocket interceptor.

Recently, the Indian navy declared that it is not interested in the Israeli system, which achieved a 90% kill rate during recent fighting in the Gaza strip. The army, on the other hand, is showing great interest.

In the meantime, Rafael is continuing the development of its longer-range rocket and missile interceptor, David’s Sling.

A company source said on February 20 that development is scheduled to be complete at the end of next year.

Last November, Rafael and the Israeli Missile Defence Organisation (IMDO) successfully tested David’s Sling.

Representatives of the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) were at the test. The US is partially funding the development of David’s Sling and Raytheon is a subcontractor to Rafael.

During the test, the Elta radar was operated in shadow mode, while the target was detected by other sensors. In future tests, the Elta radar will be used as the main sensor.

The sensors detected the incoming long-range rocket and, seconds later, the Stunner interceptor was launched and destroyed the target rocket. Sources said that the inert interceptor achieved a kinetic hit.

Uzi Rubin, the former head of the IMDO, said after the test that a hit-to-kill interceptor allows the verification of the destruction of the threat “and this is a very critical piece of information in the intercept sequence”. 

David’s Sling will be part of a multilayered system Israel is building to defend itself from rockets and missiles. The first layer is the Iron Dome.

David’s Sling will be the second layer, with Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 the third layer against ballistic missiles. David’s Sling is designed to intercept rockets with a range of 70km (43 miles) to 250km, but this capability will increase in the future. The system is also designed to intercept cruise missiles.

Many countries in the world have realised that rockets of all types are not only a threat to troops, but to civilians. That might affect the potential size of the market for anti-rocket systems.

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