The US military is considering purchasing Israel’s Iron Dome for its European defenses.
Israel’s state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the main contractor of Iron Dome, and Raytheon, its US partner for the system’s production, are reported to be working to transform the Israeli interceptor into an American system to defend forward-deployed US forces.
The Iron Dome is planned to be used as a short-range air-defense solution as a clutch. It would support the THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system intercepting and destroying short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
The US Army needs an interim solution to protect the ground troops against an increasingly wide range of aerial threats, including short-range projectiles, until a permanent solution is put in place, especially in the European arena. If the US decides to purchase the system, it would be fully produced in the United States by Raytheon with Rafael as a subcontractor, with Rafael ready to transfer the knowledge and production file.
Iron Dome is reported as having gone up against three other options, including systems by Boeing and General Dynamics Land Systems’ specially armed Stryker vehicles. Designed to shoot down short-range rockets, it is able to calculate when rockets will land in open areas, choosing not to intercept them. The system carries 24 pounds of explosives and can intercept an incoming projectile from four to 70 kilometers away.
This isn’t the first time the US considers arming itself with Israeli-produced armaments. The US Army plans to test Israeli-made Trophy active protection systems on their M1A2 SEPv2 Armor Brigade Combat Team. Looks like buying military equipment is yet another for the US to invest funds into Israel.