United States has finalized the purchase of two Iron Dome air defense systems

According to the American website Defense News, the United States has finalized the contract to purchase two Iron Dome air defense systems for the U.S. Army. In January 2019, The United States Army sent Congress a 14-page document requesting the approval of $373 million for purchasing a few of Israel’s widely acclaimed Iron Dome missile interception systems.

United States has finalized the purchase of two Iron Dome air defense systems 925 001
The Iron Dome was used by the Israeli army during Operation "Pillar of Defense", a widespread campaign against terror sites and operatives in the Gaza Strip. (Picture source IDF)

According to military experts of the Pentagon and Israeli Defense Ministry, the idea to purchase the system comes after the US military last year conducted an internal review of its short-range air defense needs to assess whether Iron Dome or a Norwegian or US-developed system was best suited to address a gap in defenses against potential Russian and Chinese cruise missile threats.

On October 31, 2019, US Army acquisition chief Bruce Jette notified Congress of the results of this internal review which centered on a program called the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2-Intercept program. IFPC, as the program is called, is still in development and aims to do many of the things Iron Dome has demonstrated in more than 1,700 interceptions, including shooting down unmanned air vehicle, mortars, rockets and artillery.

The Iron Dome is a mobile all-weather air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries. The system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 kilometers to 70 kilometers away and whose trajectory would take them to an Israeli populated area.

The Iron Dome was deployed for the first time by the Israeli army in March 2011. On 7 April 2011, after deployment as an "operational experiment" on 3 April, the Iron Dome system in the area of Ashkelon successfully intercepted a Grad rocket fired at the city, the first time a short-range rocket fired from Gaza had been intercepted. According to reports from the area, the interception could be seen in Israeli towns near northern Gaza.

As of August 2014, ten Iron Dome batteries had been deployed throughout Israel. During the 50 days of the conflict 4,594 rockets and mortars were fired at Israeli targets. During this period, Iron Dome systems intercepted 735 projectiles that it determined were threatening, achieving an intercept success rate of 90 percent.

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