Over the first weekend of 2021, Israel delivered the second of two Iron Dome Defense System batteries to the U.S. Army.
It is likely a marvelous New Year’s Eve gift, or a Hanukkah gift, since obviously Israel don’t celebrate Christmas.
The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), of the Israel Ministry of Defense carried out the delivery.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz commented on the delivery:
“The delivery of the Iron Dome to the U.S. Army once again demonstrates the close relations between the Israel Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense, the effectiveness of the system against various threats, and the excellent technological capabilities of Israeli industries. I am confident that the system will assist the U.S. Army in protecting American troops from ballistic and airborne threats as well as from developing threats in the areas where U.S. troops are deployed on various missions.”
In August 2019 the United States and Israel signed an agreement for the procurement of two Iron Dome Defense System batteries (IDDS-A).
The first battery was delivered in September 2020 and is already undergoing a process of implementation in the U.S. The second battery was delivered in accordance with the agreement and project schedule.
These batteries will be employed in the defense of US troops against a variety of ballistic and aerial threats.
Gantz, back then, also commented on the first batch:
“The Iron Dome system, as a part of [Israel’s] multi-layered missile defense system, reflects the strength of the Israeli defense establishment. As a result of the effectiveness of this system, many deaths were prevented on the home front of southern Israel, and it has a significant impact on the battlefield. I am proud that this advanced system will also protect U.S. Army troops. This is an extraordinary achievement for both the Ministry of Defense and for Israel’s excellent defense industries”.
“Last week I visited the United States”, Gantz added, “and met with senior officials in the U.S. Department of Defense and the military. Among other things, we discussed procurement and information sharing in the field of technology. The completion of this agreement serves as further proof that the defense alliance [between the U.S. and Israel], is based on common values and interests, which are stronger than ever.”
Rafael Executive Vice President and Head of Rafael’s Air and Missile Defense Division, Pini Yungman, also commented:
“The Iron Dome system which will serve the U.S. military is tailored according to U.S. requirements. This being said, its performance capabilities, as seen in Israel, will remain the same. We began the project with a series of tests and demonstrations in the ‘White Sands’ testing field in the US. To date, we have conducted three demonstrations and intercepted targets chosen by the U.S. Army for the Iron Dome system.”
The prime contractor for the development and production of the Iron Dome is Rafael Advanced Systems. The MMR radar is developed by ELTA, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and the command and control system (BMC), is developed by mPrest.
The technology will be filling the role of the U.S. Army’s interim indirect fires protection capability. Under pressure from Congress, the service was mandated in the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act to purchase the missile defense systems while the service searches for a more permanent solution for its cruise missile defense gap.
The Army received both its Iron Dome purchases.
“In the coming year, the Iron Dome system will complete 10 years of operational activity, with over 2,400 interceptions,” Daniel Gold, head of the Israeli Missile Defense Organization in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development in the Ministry of Defense, said in the announcement of the delivery. “The very fact that we are handing over the first battery, a year after the agreement was signed, is an achievement in itself.”
In November 2020, the Defense Department announced that two air defense artillery batteries at Fort Bliss, Texas, will be testing and evaluating Iron Dome. The units will be converted from a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery and be funded with resources from the Army Air Defense Artillery School, according to the statement. The Army plans on deploying the first system by late 2021.
“This interim stationing decision will support critical test, evaluation and integration activities, which are prerequisites to any future deployment or stationing decision,” the Defense Department said.
The U.S Army plans to decide on a location for Iron Dome once the product reaches operational deployment capability. Sen. John Boozman, in May 2020 suggested to then-Defense Secretary Mark Esper that the Army deploy the system to U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility in the Middle East.
If they are deployed in the Middle East, this means that they will likely be used to pressure Iran or do Saudi Arabia’s bidding, essentially.
They’ve got proven success in the Middle East, with projectiles from the Gaza Strip often being intercepted.
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