A serious and expensive accident occurred this week in the Air
Force unit responsible for the Iron Dome rocket defense system in the
South. Twenty Iron Dome interceptor missiles fell several meters,
causing damage to the missiles but no injuries.RELATED:US may buy Iron Dome to defend ME bases 3 more Iron Dome batteries to arrive by 2012
occurred when the missiles were improperly secured while being loaded
onto a truck for maintenance, Israel Radio reported.
number of soldiers and officers were nearby but none were injured. The
rockets are built with a safety mechanism to ensure they only explode
when fired at a rocket.
The missiles were damaged and will be removed from the active arsenal,
according to the report. Each interceptor costs around $50,000 and
two are fired at rockets slated for interception, putting the monetary
cost of the accident at roughly $1 million.
The IDF ordered an immediate investigation into the incident, which
senior officials called a case of severe negligence by soldiers and
commanders who ignored safety procedures, the IDF
Spokesman told Israel Radio. The Iron Dome system will be
suspended until the initial investigation is completed.
Israel currently has three Iron Dome batteries deployed in the South and
a fourth is slated to be deployed in early 2012. The system has intercepted dozens of rockets since the beginning of the year.
Thursday's incident follows reports that the United States Army is set to
decide on the possible purchase of the Iron Dome
system. The system, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has
already been sold to Singapore, according to foreign reports.
The US Army is interested in using the Iron Dome outside bases in Iraq
and Afghanistan that could potentially be targeted by Katyusha rockets.
The US military has discovered 107 mm. Katyushas in Iraq in the past.
The initial deal is valued at $100 million, but could reach
several-hundred-million dollars over a number of years.
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.