Toy car hobbyists are getting a new model for their collections – the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.
The advanced missile interception system reached heroic status during Israel’s 2014 conflict with Gaza, as it shot down rockets fired by Hamas into Israel. Now, the defense solution — designed and programmed by Elta, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israeli company mPrest Systems – is joining other mini versions of tanks and military vehicles on toy store shelves.
Hanan Shpetrik, a local toy car designer, came up with the design for the miniature version of the Iron Dome model. According to an article in Yediot Aharonot, Shpetrik is also behind toy tank models of IDF battle tanks MERKAVA Mk.III and MERKAVA Mk.IV.
“This is an accurately designed miniature representation of the original and is meant for children or toy car collectors,” Shpetrik told the Hebrew daily.
The Iron Dome replica model is built to scale at 1:72, and is made of plastic and metal. The design and development was done at the Israeli Mathov Design company.
The toy comprises three trucks (as is used by the IDF when deploying the Iron Dome system) – a launcher, a battle management control unit, and a radar.
It is actually full circle for the Iron Dome to now be made into a toy as it was a toy car that helped developers build the missile defense system in the first place.
When the system was being developed, schedule and budget constraints meant its developers had to use ingenuity and improvisation to find quick solutions. One of the leading developers has famously told a Technion-Israel Institute of Technology publication, that some of the missile components were taken from a toy car he had bought for his son at a local Toys R Us store.
The new Iron Dome mini version is now joining other diecast and toy vehicle replications on regular toy store shelves. According to Yediot Aharonot, the three-piece set is also in high demand by defense-related companies for marketing possibilities and as token gifts to potential customers.
The Iron Dome system model does not shoot or make sounds but as the original costs a reported $50 million per battery, for car aficionados, a $78 replica, is much more tolerable.