The company that developed Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, credited by the Israeli army with intercepting as much as 90 percent of rockets launched from Gaza, is now developing a ship-based version. State-owned Rafael Ltd., the primary contractor for Iron Dome, which first went into service in 2011, will unveil the new technology at the annual Euronaval exhibition in Paris that runs until Nov. 1.
Known as the C-Dome, the defense system will defend small corvettes, patrol vessels and other small ships against various types of attack, including rocket fire.
The system, which is in the very early stages of development, according to company executives cited in a Defense News report, will contain the same missiles that have managed to intercept more than 1,200 rockets in the last three years.
The initial plans for the C-Dome will be installed on the upper deck of ships inside a maneuverable unit that has 10 launch canisters each.
However, the C-Dome will not require accompanying ground-based radar or command and control units, like the ones used on the Israeli border. The likelihood, says the company, is that the missile unit will be supported by the ship’s own fire control radar and combat management system. The final design will allow ships to hit simultaneous targets even if they are launched from deep-sea positions or littoral locations as it will have 360-degree coverage.
“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 Sunday.
It is thought that the final prototype could be ready in less than a year, company executives said. Primary discussions have also opened with future users, including the Israeli navy.
The platform has been widely applauded as a good strategic move for the Israeli army.
“I’ve long supported maritime applications for Iron Dome,” said Uzi Rubin, an international consultant on missile defense and former director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization. “There’s no reason why its unprecedented, combat validated capabilities should not be leveraged for intercepts at sea,” he said.