Israel and the US Department of Defense have officially signed an agreement to continue production of the Iron Dome weapon system, the US Embassy announced Monday.
The deal ensures continued US funding for building Iron Dome batteries and purchasing interceptors – the missiles used to intercept and destroy rockets that are fired at Israel.
Under the terms of the agreement, $429 million were transferred immediately to Israel for the purpose of further Iron Dome procurement.
The Iron Dome
is designed to defend against rockets at a range of 4 to 70 km. Each battery consists of a multi-subject radar, manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, and three launchers, each equipped with 20 interceptors called Tamirs.
The radar enables Iron Dome operators to predict the impact site of an enemy rocket, in order to decide not to intercept it if it is slated to hit an open area. Each interceptor costs around $50,000, and usually two are fired at rockets slated for interception.
During Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, Iron Dome was called a “game changer” by many policy-makers.
According to the US Department of Defense, the agreement is of strategic value for both nations. Israel will obtain funds and resources to contribute to its defense while US industry will receive ample co-production opportunities for the Iron Dome components.