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Copyright © 2019 The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Safer Together: U.S.-Israel Missile Defense Cooperation

Israeli citizens live under the constant threat of rocket fire. Thanks to bipartisan support in Congress, the United States has funded groundbreaking technologies that save Israeli and Palestinian lives.

Soon those programs will help protect Americans, too.

Israel’s three-tiered defense shield—made up of Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow—showcases the best of what both allies can offer each other through close collaboration, strategic partnership, and a shared commitment to mutual security.

In August 2019, the Iron Dome missile defense system again helped save lives when it intercepted rockets fired at Israeli communities by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. Within six days, five rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel.

U.S. Army purchases Iron Dome

In the same month that Iron Dome worked to protect Israelis, the U.S. Army finalized a deal to purchase the system and help protect U.S. troops.

Source: Flash90

According to the U.S. Army, Iron Dome will be fielded to operational units and will likely participate in formal and informal exercises to identify how it can be used as part of the Indirect Fires Protection Capability program—under development to defend against rockets, artillery and mortars, as well as unmanned aircraft and cruise missiles—and air defense architectures.

“Iron Dome could feed into an enduring capability,” Daryl Youngman, Deputy Director of the Air and Missile Defense Cross Functional Team, said.

Americans and Israelis test the Arrow-3 missile defense system in Alaska

Iron Dome was not the only defense system utilized by the United States this summer.

In July, the United States and Israel completed a successful test of Arrow-3 in Kodiak, Alaska—an extraordinary demonstration of American-Israeli defense cooperation.

The Arrow-3 defense system is a joint U.S.-Israel project that can intercept ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, the safest way to destroy incoming missiles mounted with nuclear or biological warheads.

Since the 1990s, Congress has allocated over $7 billion for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation—including over $3.4 billion for the Arrow program. A key challenge for Israel—given its close proximity to hostile neighbors—had been finding a test location to accommodate a realistic launch of the Arrow-3 system. Two years ago, Congress approved an additional $105 million for this exercise in Alaska.

“This is an extraordinary operational and technological achievement for the State of Israel,” said Vice Admiral John Hill, Director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, stressing his agency's commitment to help Israel “upgrade its national missile defense capabilities in order to protect itself and American forces deployed in the area from rising threats.”

“The test this weekend shows the strength of U.S.-Israeli cooperation on missile defense,” Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan said, following the successful test. “It should send a strong message to our common adversary, Iran, about our ability to deter any aggressive act against our allies in the region.”

“This successful test of what is a major component of our missile defense system strengthens the U.S. relationship with Israel, a strong ally, to improve their military readiness. Our strong partnership demonstrates our commitment to peace through strength,” Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski added.

Americans and Israelis are safer when the two countries work together. That is the core of why the U.S.-Israel relationship matters.

Learn more about U.S.-Israel defense cooperation.

Type: Analysis