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Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
Type Government-owned corporation
Industry Defense, Aerospace
Predecessor(s) Science Corps
Founded 1948
Headquarters Haifa, Israel
Products Military aerospace
Defense electronics
Naval Systems
Revenue Increase$1.851 billion US$ (FY 2010)
Net income Increase$170 million US$ (FY 2010)
Employees 6,000
Divisions Missiles and NCW Division
Ordnance and Protection Division
Manor - Advanced Defense Technologies Division
Subsidiaries RDC (RAFAEL Development Corporation)

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. (Hebrew: רפאל - מערכות לחימה מתקדמות בע"מ, formerly: RAFAEL Armament Development Authority), known as RAFAEL or Rafael, (also spelled as Raphael or Rephael; Hebrew acronym of "Authority for the Development of Armaments" - רשות לפיתוח אמצעי לחימה) is an Israeli defense technology company. It was founded as Israel’s National R&D Defense Laboratory for the development of weapons and military technology within the Ministry of Defense; in 2002 it was incorporated as a limited company.[1]

Rafael develops and produces weapons, military, and defense technologies for the Israel Defense Forces and for export abroad. All current projects are classified.


Israeli soldier with Spike anti-tank missile launcher

Python-5 (front) and Shafrir 1 (back) missiles

Popeye standoff missile

Rafael was established in 1948 as the Science Corps (Hebrew: חיל המדע‎, known by the acronym HEMED, Hebrew: חמד‎) under the leadership of Shlomo Gur. It was renamed the Research and Design Directorate (Hebrew: אגף הפיתוח והתיכנון‎) in 1952. In 1952 David Ben-Gurion decided to split into two agencies the activities of HEMED. The pure scientific research was left with HEMED, while the development of weapons was placed in the new EMET agency.[2]

In 1954 Ben-Gurion decided to change the name of EMET to RAFAEL.[3] It was reorganized as Rafael in 1958.[4]

In 1995, Yitzhak Rabin asked Amos Horev to become chairman of the board of Rafael, following many years in which Horev had served as chairman of Rafael's advisory committee.[5] Horev served as chairman until January 2001.[5]

Restructuring as a limited company

During the early 1990 Rafael was operating at a loss (peaking in 1995, with a loss of $120 million on a turnover of $460 million). Therefore it was decided to restructure the organization and start operating Rafael as a company. Initially the new company had three discrete divisions, each operating as a profit centre, with a separate balance sheet presented to the newly formed management board.[6] The restructuring was completed in 2002 when Rafael was formally incorporated as a limited company (although still as a government-owned corporation), while maintaining its technological capabilities through an investment of about 10% of turnover in R&D programs. In its first year as a limited company, Rafael earned a $37 million profit on $830 million in sales.[7] On October 14, 2007 the company changed its name from Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd. to Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

Technological achievements

Civilian technology transfer

In 1993, Rafael Development Corporation (RDC), a technology transfer company, was established as a joint venture with Elron Electronic Industries; in order to commercialize applications based on defense technologies for medical devices, telecommunications, and semiconductor industries.[14] The company has successfully established and developed several companies including:

  • Given Imaging (NASDAQ:GIVN) - a pioneer in the sphere of capsule endoscopy.[15]
  • Oramir Semiconductor Equipment - developer of laser cleaning technologies for the semiconductor industry,[16] sold to Applied Materials in 2001 for $21 million.[17]
  • Starling Advanced Communications (TASE:STLG) - provider of broadband wireless networking solutions for airliners.[18]
  • Galil Medical - a developer of cryotherapy solutions.[19]
  • SELA Semiconductor Engineering Laboratories - a provider of automated sample preparation tools for semiconductor manufacturers, sold to Camtek Intelligent Imaging.[19]
  • 3DV Systems - developers of the ZCam, a time-of-flight camera products for video applications, sold to Microsoft.[20]
  • Medingo - developer of a micro pump insulin delivery system consists of two parts: a semi-disposable insulin dispensing patch and a remote control, which allows for discreet personalised insulin delivery. The company was sold to Hoffmann-La Roche's subsidiary Roche Diagnostics for $160 million as well as up to $40 million in milestone payments.[21]


  • Shavit 2 sounding rocket
  • Tal 1 and Tal 2 Cluster Bombs


See also


  1. Dun & Bradstreet: Rafael Company Profile
  2. The bomb is the basement, page 43
  3. The bomb is the basement, page 113
  4. Merdor, Monaya M. (1982). "Science Corps (Hemed)". IDF in Its Corps: Army and Security Encyclopedia. Volume 17. Revivim Publishing. pp. 17–19.  (Hebrew)
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Amos Horev". MIT Enterprise Forum. January 1, 2001. Retrieved June 17, 2010. 
  6. "Rafael Operating as Gov’t Company Since January 1 - Preparatory to Becoming Limited Company". May 1, 1997. 
  7. "Rafael 2003 net profit: $37m". March 17, 2004. 
  8. Global Shafrir
  9. "Defense Update issue 2-07 (May - June 2007) : Electro-Optically Guided Weapons". Defense-Update.Com. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  10. Popeye Turbo - Israel Special Weapons. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  11. Anshel Pfeffer; Yanir Yagna (7 April 2011). "Iron Dome successfully intercepts Gaza rocket for first time". Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  12. HARTMAN, BEN. "Anti-tank missile system stops attack on IDF tank". News Article. Jerusalem Post. 
  13. "Protector". Defence Updates. Retrieved 2007-04-21. 
  14. Rafael Development Corporation Ltd. - Company profile BusinessWeek
  15. Invest in Israel: Given Imaging
  16. Fairchild launches Oramir Israel Business Today
  17. Applied Materials Inc · SEC Filing 10-Q · For 7/29/01
  18. Starling Advanced Communications: Company Profile - BusinessWeek
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Elron sells entire Galil Medical stake". 15 March 10. 
  20. Shelah, Shmulik (2009-06-22). "Microsoft confirms 3DV acquisition". Globes. Tel Aviv: Globes Publisher Itonut. Archived from the original on 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2009-06-23. "[Microsoft corporate vice president of Israel Research & Development Moshe Lichtman] said, for the first time officially, that "the R&D center helped Microsoft in buying the intellectual property of 3DV Systems, and in the wake of that dozens of the company's employees were recruited to work at the development center."" 
  21. "Roche Acquires Insulin Pump Company Medingo". 14 April 2010. 
  22. Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis: IHS Jane's | IHS. Retrieved on 2013-07-17.

External links

Coordinates: 32°52′06″N 35°05′35″E / 32.8684°N 35.0931°E / 32.8684; 35.0931

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