South Korea likely to acquire Iron Dome system from Israel
The South Korean Government is reportedly interested in the acquisition of an Iron Dome anti-missile defence system from Israel in an effort to bolster protection against rockets launched from North Korea.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems CEO Yedidia Yaari was quoted by Israel's Army Radio as saying that Iron Dome's performance in the ongoing Gaza war had fuelled foreign interest in its procurement, including by South Korea.
Yaari said: "It is very worried not only about rockets, but other things as well; you can certainly include them in the club of interested countries."
The Iron Dome system is claimed to have achieved a 90% success rate in intercepting Hamas's short-range rockets during the month-long Gaza crisis.
Rafael is yet to make any Iron Dome foreign sales and has to date focused on supplies to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Developed by Rafael with significant funding support from the US, Iron Dome is a mobile air defence system designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and 155mm artillery shells in all weather conditions, including fog, dust storm, low clouds and rain.
Equipped with a tracking radar, a battle management and weapons control unit, and a missile firing unit, the system can simultaneously intercept multiple threats that are launched from a distance of 4km to 70km, while it is also effective against aircraft flying at high altitudes.
The IDF has to date deployed nine Iron Dome batteries of the planned total of 12 interceptor units that serve as an invaluable component of the country's missile defence.
Iron Dome production is also supported by Elisra Group and Israel Aerospace Industries, with some of the components also manufactured by the US defence company Raytheon.
Image: Iron Dome system to intercept a missile fired from the Gaza strip during Operation Pillar of Defense. Photo: courtesy of Israel Defense Forces and Nehemiya Gershoni.