Report: US eyes purchase of Israel's Iron Dome to defend European bases

Gaza-tested missile defense system to go toe-to-toe with competitors for US defense contract.

September 10, 2017 15:55
1 minute read.

Upgraded Iron Dome system tested in Feb. 2017 (courtesy: IDF)

Upgraded Iron Dome system tested in Feb. 2017 (courtesy: IDF)

The US Army may buy Israel's Iron Dome short-range missile defense system to install in its military bases in Europe, according to a report in Defense News.

The Americans are scheduled to test the system this month at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, comparing it to competing systems.

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The US Army has not yet set a timetable for procurement of the system that will selected in the trial. According to Defense News the US Army sees an urgent need to plug a gap in its defenses in Europe until a permanent solution to the problem is put in place.

Iron Dome, which was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., will face competition from systems such as the vehicle-mounted "Stryker" system, developed jointly by Boeing and General Dynamics. All the systems being tested are capable of rapid deployment.

The US gave generous financial aid for the development and production of Iron Dome. Rafael teamed up with US-based Raytheon to produce the systems, and more than 50% of the components of the "Tamir" interception missiles  that the system uses are made in the US. If Iron Dome is selected by the US military, the system will become entirely American, with Raytheon as the main contractor and Rafael as a sub-contractor.

Rafael did not comment on the report.

Since Iron Dome entered service in 2011, it has succeeded in intercepting more than 1,500 rockets fired at Israeli communities from the Gaza Strip.

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