Israel has delivered the second of two batteries of the Iron Dome missile defense system to the U.S. Army, as the service plans to field the first interim capability by late 2021.
The Army signed a deal with Israeli manufacturer Rafael in August 2019 for two Iron Dome batteries, with the first system being delivered this past fall.
“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,” Benny Gantz, Israel’s defense minister, said in a statement. “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.”
The Army acquired Iron Dome per a directive in the fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill, with the goal for the system to serve as an interim cruise missile defense system while it continues pursuing a long-term Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC).
Army officials, however, have previously noted the system is currently unable to integrate with its future missile defense command platform, the Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) being developed by Northrop Grumman [NOC] (Defense Daily, March 12).
The Army is holding a “shoot-off” this spring to help find an enduring IFPC capability, which will include the ability to integrate with IBCS as a key requirement.
In November, the Army announced it had activated two air defense artillery batteries at Fort Bliss in Texas to train on Iron Dome over the next year as the service prepares to field the first interim capability (Defense Daily, Nov. 13).