The U.S. Army has successfully tested the Iron Dome missile defense battery at its White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The U.S. Army in conjunction with the Israeli Missile Defense Organization, took a critical step towards fielding the first of two Iron Dome Defense System-Army batteries. Anna Ahronheim of The Jerusalem Post writes (abridged):
According to a statement released by the ministry, the Iron Dome system in its American configuration is expected “to protect deployed American forces from a variety of aerial threats, including cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, rockets and shrapnel.”
While America has its THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to intercept and destroy short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase, it does not have any short-range air defense solutions.
The purchase was made to fill its short-term needs for an Indirect Fire Protection Capability, until a permanent solution to the problem is put in place to best protect ground maneuvering troops against an increasingly wide range of aerial threats, including short-range projectiles.
The US Army purchased the 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.
According to a February report in Defense News, the US Army has been finalizing where to deploy the two batteries with Brig.-Gen. Brian Gibson, the lead on the service’s air and missile defense modernization effort.
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