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Air Chief: India Will Not Buy Iron Dome

Feb. 7, 2013 - 10:20AM   |  
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BANGALORE, India — India has rejected Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system, offered to the Indian Air Force nearly two years ago.

Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, told reporters at Aero India 2013 that Iron Dome is not suitable for the service.

The announcement puts to rest speculation in the media that India is negotiating to buy Iron Dome from Israel. Sources in the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) attending Aero India said India and Israel have been discussing the purchase of Iron Dome and the David Sling air defense system, jointly made by the U.S. and Israel, for more than two years.

No MoD official would comment on Browne’s statement, but sources say his announcement will make it difficult for India to buy the system. The fate of David Sling is also uncertain now, added MoD sources.

David Sling is jointly produced by Raytheon and Rafael Advanced Systems of Israel, while Iron Dome is manufactured by Rafael.

Israel showcased the Iron Dome at Aero India alongside David Sling. Israel has used Iron Dome against short-range rockets fired by Hamas and Gaza groups. The David Sling system is a medium- to long-range rocket and cruise missile defense system to provide ballistic missile defense.

In early 2009, India inked a $2.2 billion joint venture with Israel under which India’s Defense Research and Development Organisation works with Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael to develop a 70-kilometer medium-range surface-to-air missile program. The system would be used by the Indian Air Force and also sold to the Israeli defense forces.

India also is developing its own ballistic missile defense system called the Prithvi Air Defense system. The first phase is expected to be completed in 2013-’14.

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