The US Army has decided not to buy Israel’s Iron Dome to counter aerial threats, according to Defense News.
This comes in spite of the United States military having successfully carried out a first live-fire test of the missile defense system.
According to a report in Defense News website, Washington opted for Enduring Shield system developed by American company Dynetics after a shoot-off and comparative tests between the two systems at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in July.
The Dynetics system has 360-degree detection and can fire at multiple threats simultaneously. The system is simple to operate and can be fully integrated with the army’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System.
The Jerusalem post attempted to dig further and asked Israel’s Defense Ministry and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The answer was that both would not be commenting on the Defense News report, but if confirmed, it is expected to be a significant setback for the ministry.
According to a report in Calcalist, though, the average price of an Iron Dome system is around $8,400,000. Israel Aerospace Industries said that each system is customized according to need, and it therefore does not have a fixed price.
IAI, which manufactures the radars for Iron Dome, made a record $4.2 billion in 2020 in international sales from the multi-mission radar.
Some 150 MMR radars, the brains of the system, have been sold to customers around the world, Calcalist said.
The US Army purchased two off-the-shelf batteries from Rafael in August 2019 that were delivered in late 2020. The army has since been in the process of examining and building training systems for the batteries.
The purchase of those batteries included 12 launchers, two sensors, two battle management centers and 240 interceptors.
Now, the US is reportedly opting out of purchasing any more. It was somewhat expected, as indications were shown back in March 2021.
Back in March this year, the US army announced it was reconsidering plans to buy additional Iron Dome systems because they could not be integrated into American-made air missile systems.
“We believe we cannot integrate them into our air-defense system based upon some interoperability challenges, some cyber challenges and some other challenges,” US General Mike Murray, commander of Army Futures Command, said at the time.
Washington is said to have contributed $1.6 billion in funding Israel’s Iron Dome system since 2011, and the American defense company Raytheon is a partner with Rafael in the production of Iron Dome subsystem parts that are produced throughout 15 states in the United States.
“What you’re probably – almost certainly – going to see is two standalone systems, and if the best we can do is standalone systems, we do not want to buy another two batteries,” US General Mike Murray stated in 2020.
On August 25th, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett that the Biden administration was working to fulfill Israel’s request for $1 billion in emergency funding to replenish the Iron Dome.
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