The United States Army announced on Wednesday that it will purchase an unspecified number of Israel’s Iron Dome short-range missile defense systems from state-owned developer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
Globes reported that this is the first-ever export deal for Iron Dome agreed to by Israel.
“The Iron Dome will be assessed and experimented as a system that is currently available to protect deployed U.S. military service members against a wide variety of indirect fire threats and aerial threats,” U.S. Army Col. Patrick Seiber said in a statement.
“While Iron Dome has been in operational use by the Israeli Air Force since 2011 and proven effective in combat, it should be noted that the U.S. Army will assess a variety of options for its long-term IFPC solution,” the statement continued.
Rafael confirmed the deal without providing further details. Globes reported in September that intensive negotiations were underway between the U.S. Army and Israel’s Ministry of Defense on the procurement of Iron Dome.
“The Iron Dome system will be used for deployed US military forces as a defense system against a wide range of ballistic and airborne threats, and will be tested in the long run as part of a range of possible US military responses to aerial threats,” read a statement by the Israel’s Ministry of Defense. It said that the U.S. had decided to purchase the systems “for immediate needs of the U.S. army.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as Defense Minister, hailed the announcement as “a great achievement for Israel and another manifestation of the deepening of our steadfast alliance with the US, and an expression of Israel’s rising status in the world.”
Alongside the Arrow-2, Arrow-3, and David’s Sling systems, the Iron Dome is part of Israel’s layered aerial defense system, which is being [developed]developed in coordination with the United States. While the Iron Dome provides protection from short-range threats, the Arrow and David’s Sling systems guard against mid- and long-range missiles. Together, these systems aim to provide Israel with a protective umbrella to counter all forms of ballistic threats.
The Iron Dome has repeatedly intercepted Hamas and Hezbollah rockets since its first deployment in April 2011, demonstrating an impressive score of almost 90 percent in engagements on the Gaza border.
The U.S. interest in the Israeli anti-rocket system was first reported last month following an internal review of the U.S. army’s “short-range air defense needs.”
[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / Flickr ]