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Following its Indirect Fires Protection Capability, or IFPC, solicitation in April, the U.S. Army is about to choose an enduring system that will counter both drone and cruise missile threats. The Army is interested in a prototyping effort and will host a shoot-off for two teams at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
The shoot-off to evaluate possible existing capabilities began in earnest, with one team firing its offering — a combination of a launcher and an interceptor — at White Sands at the end of April. According to defensenews.com, this team is known to be an Israel-based Rafael and Raytheon Technologies pairing, incorporating elements of Rafael’s Iron Dome and its Tamir interceptor — otherwise known as SkyHunter in the U.S. If chosen, the team would launch production in the United States at a location yet to be disclosed.
The second team which will have its chance in May is believed to be led by Dynetics, according to sources, who believe the team is using Raytheon’s AIM-9X Sidewinder interceptor as part of the solution.
The intention for IFPC is to protect critical fixed- or semi-fixed assets, and would be a more mobile solution than one that would suffice at a forward-operating base. IFPC is planned to bridge the gap between short-range air defense systems, the Patriot air and missile defense system, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).