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Israel delivers second Iron Dome battery to US Army

Iron Dome
An Iron Dome launcher fires a Tamir missile. Photo: RAFAEL

The Israeli Missile Defense Organization delivered the second of two Iron Dome batteries to the US Army this weekend.

The second battery, produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is expected to arrive in the US by February, when the testing of the systems will begin.

“The delivery of the Iron Dome to the US Army demonstrates the close relations between the Israel and US defense ministries, the effectiveness of the system against various threats, and the excellent capabilities of Israeli industries,” Israel’s defense minister Benjamin Gantz said.

The US Army is buying the Iron Dome systems under a $300 million contract from August 2019. The first battery was officially delivered to the service in September 2020.

As the missiles, launchers and radar arrive from Israel to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, they will undergo an equipment fielding and training program.

The testing of each system will end with a live-fire engagement to shoot down a surrogate cruise missile target, after which the Iron Dome batteries will officially stand up at Fort Bliss, Texas. They are expected to be available for operational deployment by September 2021 and December 2021, respectively.

Another goal of the testing will be to evaluate the possibility of the integration of Iron Dome into the army’s Integrated Battle Command System. IBCS will provide the army with an integrated command-and-control system, capable of blending current and future air and missile defense sensors and weapon systems under a unified network.

As explained earlier by Gen. John M. Murray, Army Futures Command commanding general, the army still needs to see if it is possible to integrate it into the army’s integrated air and missile defense, or AIAMD, framework. The marines have demonstrated possible interoperability of the system — but interoperability is much different from being integrated, Gibson noted.

Iron Dome is a truck-towed, multi-mission mobile air defense system developed to counter very short-range rockets, artillery and mortar threats.