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US Army Inks Deal For Israel's Iron Dome In Historic First

Published: August 15, 2019
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Source: ZeroHedge

A landmark deal for US procurement of Israel's Iron Dome anti-air missile defense systems was finalized this week. It became official when on Tuesday the US Defense Department announced it had formally signed a contract for two complete Iron Dome systems.

Co-developed by Raytheon and Israeli defense firm Rafael, the system has been touted by Israeli leaders as the most advanced short to mid-range interceptor in the world with a proven track record, given that even within the past year it's been engaged in dozens if not hundreds of Hamas rocket intercepts from Gaza.

Image via Jewish Policy Center

"Now that the contract is set in stone, the Army will be able to figure out delivery schedules and details in terms of taking receipt of the systems," a US missile systems analyst told Defense News of the future transfer.

 

From a US perspective the Iron Dome represents an "interim" solution to close some existing gaps in the Army's anti-air capabilities, as well as experiment with integration with other systems, according to Defense News:

The Army was shifting around its pots of funding within its Indirect Fires Protection Capability (IFPC) program — under development to defend against rockets, artillery and mortars as well as unmanned aircraft and cruise missiles — to fill its urgent capability gap for cruise missile defense on an interim basis. Congress mandated the Army deploy two batteries by fiscal 2020 in the service’s fiscal 2019 budget.

The US Army had announced last February when the impending deal was first revealed: "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," according to the report. 



This week's announcement marks the first time Israel has ever sold a stand alone weapons system to the United States

Tel Aviv has recently cited the Iron Dome achieving an 86% shootdown rate when in May about 700 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip over a period of a few days in the most recent major flare-up of hostilities. 

Also, last month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the successful test firing of Israel's Arrow-3 ballistic missile shield over Alaska, tests previously considered secretive. Specifically the Arrow-3 is designed to take out advanced ballistic missiles in Iran and Syria's arsenal, and is designed as the 'top level' of which the Iron Dome forms the base platform in the overall three-tiered system.

The Arrow-3, once fully integrated with the Iron Dome and the medium-range 'David's Sling,' will mark the longest range capability in Israel's multi-tiered missile defense network.

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Following Iran's provocative test firing last week of its medium-range ballistic missile the Shahab-3, which is capable of hitting Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday the successful test firing of Israel's own Arrow-3 ballistic missile shield over Alaska, tests previously considered secretive.

The US military has announced plans to buy and test out Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system.The system, which uses radar and interceptor missiles to combat incoming threats, has been in use since 2011.  

A controversial report detailing that Saudi Arabia has purchased Israeli's Iron Dome defense system went viral this week after a prominent Arabic news site made the claim based on diplomatic sources. Al-Khaleej Online, which is based in the UK and Persian Gulf, published the bombshell report on Wednesday, which alleged that the first Iron Dome missile battery is slated to be transferred to Saudi Arabia before the end of the year in December.

In an event largely overlooked by the U.S. media, the Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would provide Israel with $3.3 billion in military aid along with over $500 million for missile defense over the course of the next year. The bill, officially titled the “United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018,” is expected to be voted on by the House within the week. If approved and signed into law by President Trump, it would represent the “single largest military aid package in American history.”

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