Foreign Policy Blogs

The Iron Dome in NATO-Russia Relations

Canada made an agreement recently to adopt the radar technology behind the Iron Dome anti-aircraft missile system. In an agreement between ELTA Systems, Rheinmetall and the Canadian Government, a version of the radar behind the Iron Dome will be produced in Canada in cooperation with companies from Israel and Germany. Delivery of the Iron Dome to Canadian forces is set to begin in 2017.

With Russia’s increased investment in defense in its Arctic region, Canada hopes to use their new Iron Dome-inspired system to manage any possible threats in the north. Despite minimal threats to Canada coming from aircraft and ballistic missiles, the Canadian defense system will replace an almost non-existent air defense capability that had eroded after the removal of Canada’s ADATS system a few years ago.

The logic behind Canada’s need for an Iron Dome-like system sheds light on what NATO anticipates will be international security concerns abroad in the near future. The system may serve as a starting point for a low-cost NATO-wide system that could deter Russian aircraft and missile systems in Eastern European countries concerned with rebel movements near Russia’s border. The Iron Dome also allows for an easing of tensions and reduction of causalities in many cases, so it’s as much of a political tool as it is a technological instrument. The system also allows for the targeting of other missiles and mortars, possibly giving it the ability to knock down missiles like those from the

There is a slight possibility that an Iron Dome-type system will find its way to countries in the Middle East that are at odds with Iran but would not purchase defense technology from Israel directly. Balancing the Russia’s S-300 in Iran with a system like the Iron Dome may contribute to reducing the use of ballistic missile technology from both sides, keeping the conflict limited to alternative military systems. Besides the S-300, the Iron Dome is likely one of the best systems for targeting medium-range threats.

 
  • Brad Johnson

    This batch of radars likely won’t be used in the north, Canada probably all ready has the most extensive network of early warning radars in the world, mostly in the north. This is more a mobile tactical radar that would be forward deployed with troops to detect enemy aircraft and give counter battery coordinates to destroy enemy artillery. Though this radar would probably be good enough to serve as a fixed early warning radar as well. More likely we would make a follow on purchase for the larger version of these to replace our extensive network of long range AN/FPS-117 early warning radars.
    Also it is just the radar not the missile system.

  • RB

    Thanks Brad,

    With the new government and new policies, perhaps there sale will not continue in the future. There is also a good chance that an upgraded and more suitable version of the Iron Dome system that fits Canada’s specific needs may be deployed, reflective of the Arrow long range anti-missile system.

Author

Richard Basas
Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration

Contact

americasdiplomats_socialmediaasset