Canada to acquire sophisticated Israeli Iron Dome technology

An Iron Dome installation launches an interceptor during the 2012 Gaza War. WIKIPEDIA PHOTO

The Canadian Armed Forces will soon be getting an important upgrade to its defence capabilities when it acquires 10 sophisticated Israeli radar systems containing technology used in Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile installations.

The Department of National Defence announced that it has agreed to acquire Israeli Medium Range Radar (MRR), which will be used to locate enemy weapons and provide advance aerial surveillance capability.

“Much like Israel’s successful Iron Dome radar technology, the Medium Range Radar system will be able to instantly track enemy fire aimed at Canadian Armed Forces personnel and help keep them safe during operations. We’re moving forward with providing the men and women of the military with the equipment they need to do their jobs in the service of their country,” said Defence Minister Jason Kenney.

Rheinmetall Canada won the contract to produce 10 MRR systems and provide in-service support. Total value of the contract is expected to reach more than $243 million and delivery will take place in 2017, the Defence Department said in a statement.

Rheinmetall will work in conjunction with an Israeli sub-contractor, ELTA Systems, which is a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

“I am very happy that this week saw another important step forward in our bilateral ties with the government of Canada awarding Rheinmetall Canada a contract for 10 radars based on Israel’s ELTA Systems’ Iron Dome technology,” said Rafael Barak, Israel’s ambassador to Canada.

“Most of all, I am heartened by the knowledge that the Iron Dome radar, one of the world’s most proven defensive systems, will help protect Canada and the Canadian Forces,” he added.

“This partnership with ELTA Systems is of strategic importance to Rheinmetall Canada,” said Rheinmetall Canada’s president and CEO Andreas Knackstedt. “ELTA was considered the partner of choice due to the program’s demanding requirements. The award of the MRR contract to the Rheinmetall/ELTA team is a testimony of ELTA’s leading-edge technology and know-how for which it is recognized worldwide.”

“We are honoured to have been selected by the Canadian Army,” said Nissim Hadas, IAI executive vice-president and ELTA president. “Together, with our partners in Rheinmetall Canada, we will provide the most sophisticated C-RAM [counter-rockets, artillery and mortars], air-surveillance and radar available, with a significant portion of the production to be performed locally in Canada.”

According to IAI, the radar at the heart of the system is the ELTA ELM-2084, which was employed in the Iron Dome system.

IAI touts it as “the world-leading multi-mission system” which “offers exceptional detection and accuracy performance.”

The system is highly mobile and designed to be deployed quickly with a minimal crew. It can distinguish between enemy weapons and friendly fire, it can detect rockets, artillery and mortars at long range and it can engage multiple targets at once.

Acquisition of the defence system conforms with Canada’s Defence Procurement Strategy, which aims to create jobs in Canada and boost economic growth.

The announcement came only one week after Canada and Israel updated their free trade agreement, “as well as the announcement of substantial co-operation in brain research and life sciences through Canada’s International Development Research Centre, in partnership with the Azrieli Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Israel Science Foundation,” Barak noted.

“We are certainly at an exciting time in our bilateral relations with a plethora of joint projects that help, despite the geographic distance, bring Israelis and Canadians closer together,” he said.