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Raytheon to produce parts for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense

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Raytheon to produce parts for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense

Raytheon Missile Systems has been awarded a $149.3 million contract to produce parts for the Tamir interceptor used in Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. Raytheon plants in Tucson and Huntsville, Ala., will work on the contract, along with two other Arizona companies.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the Israeli company that manufactures Iron Dome, awarded the contract, a news release from Raytheon said Tuesday.

Raytheon will "provide a second source of supply for essential Iron Dome interceptor components," the release said.

The contract was part of a condition imposed by Congress when it approved increased funding for the Israeli program earlier this year.

Iron Dome has been primarily financed by the U.S. government, with nearly $1 billion spent on the program over five years. Congress required some production of system components be done by American companies in approving nearly $700 million for the program.

"Iron Dome has proven itself time and again by protecting Israel's population from incoming rockets, artillery and mortars," Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president, said in the releaes. "The sourcing of Tamir interceptor components in the U.S. will go a long way to ensuring sufficient volumes of available Tamir missiles for Israel's defense."

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber and Sen. John McCain hailed the announcement.

"Today, after years of pushing, we can say that coproduction of Iron Dome in the United States will be a reality," the Democratic representative said in an early morning press release. "This means jobs for Southern Arizona and better security for Israel and our nation. Raytheon played a key role in helping develop Iron Dome and now it also will play a role in producing it."

McCain said he's "very proud that Arizona workers at Raytheon will be helping protect our ally Israel by providing key parts of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which has saved the lives of thousands of Israelis from Hamas rocket fire." In an afternoon statement, the Republican said, "Both Israel and the United States will be stronger and more secure thanks to hard-working Arizonans."

Two other Arizona companies will work on the contract: Parallel Ventures of Tucson and State Seal of Phoenix, Barber said.

Barber said he's worked to promote co-production of Iron Dome since he took office two years ago.

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