Thursday, September 23, 2021

Iron Dome: US Army Completes Successful Test Of ‘Most Awaited’ Air Defense System To Fill Operational Gaps

The US Army and the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) have carried out their first successful joint live-fire test of the Israeli-built Iron Dome defense system for the US military, the Israeli Ministry of Defense said on Monday.

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“The US Army, the Israel Missile Defense Organization and RAFAEL have successfully completed a live-fire test of the first US Army Iron Dome Defense System (IDDS-A) Battery, which the United States acquired from Israel,” the Ministry of Defense said via Twitter.

The performance and live-fire test was conducted at the White Sands New Mexico test range, the Ministry of Defense said in a second message via Twitter. It “was the first time US soldiers intercepted live targets employing the Iron Dome System,” the message also said.

Iron Dome developers RAFAEL, Israel Aircraft Industries (Elta and Prest supported the test, the Israeli Ministry of Defense added.

Israel’s air defense system Iron Dome has been very potent in intercepting hostile projectiles and experts say they shot down around 90 percent of the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip during the recent clash.

“The Iron Dome intercepts about 90 percent of the launches, but it is important to understand that even intercepted rockets are dangerous. Large broken-off pieces fall on the ground, strike buildings, and pose a serious threat to the life and health of people,” Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin, the head of the Home Front Command had stated.

File:RamatDavid 020517 Iron Dome 01.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
File Image: Iron Dome

Last year,  the US Army said in a statement that it has started evaluation trials at Fort Bliss in the state of Texas on Israel’s Iron Dome close range missile defense interception system on whether to adopt it to fill gaps in missile defense programs.

Two air defense artillery batteries based at Fort Bliss will assess Iron Dome for integration into the US Army’s missile defense architecture, the statement said.

The Iron Dome batteries will be deployed on the instructions of the US Congress to fill a gap in the US Army’s defense systems against cruise missile attacks, the report said, adding that the Army is exploring a comprehensive long-term program to eventually meet that need.

Israel sent its first Iron Dome battery to the US Army in October last year. The next battery is expected to be sent to Fort Bliss to start the evaluation program in December and the second should arrive in January, the report mentioned

The testing procedures will be carried out at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the Army’s venerable missile and advanced weapons testing center, which is relatively close to Fort Bliss, the report added.

Israel delivered the first of two Iron Dome missile defense batteries ordered by the United States, Israel’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

“Today the Israel Missile Defense Organization in the Ministry of Defense, delivered the first of two Iron Dome Defense System batteries to the US Army,” the Defense Ministry said via Twitter.

Image
Iron Dome: Via Official Twitter account of Israel’s Ministry of Defense

The Iron Dome battery was transported aboard a Ukrainian cargo plane. A second battery is scheduled to be delivered by the end of this year.

“The completion of this agreement serves as further proof that the defense alliance [between the United States and Israel] is based on common values and interests, which are stronger than ever,” Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said.

The Iron Dome, designed specifically to shoot down short-range projectiles, is believed to be the world’s most-used missile defense system with more than 2,500 operational intercepts and a success rate exceeding 90 percent. It is deployed mainly along Israel’s southern borders to counter Palestinian attacks from Gaza.

US Army Space and Missile Defense Command head Daniel Karbler had mentioned the acquisition of the Iron Dome as being among the most anticipated events and said that he is looking forward to see how the system would perform.

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