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Copyright © 2019 The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

U.S. Army to Purchase Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System

(AP/Dan Balilty)

On Feb. 6, the U.S. Department of Defense and Israel’s Defense Ministry confirmed that the U.S. Army will purchase the Israeli-designed Iron Dome missile defense system to protect U.S. service members deployed abroad.

The Army intends to use the system to fill an immediate need, while leaving open the option for future large-scale acquisition. Performing at close to a 90 percent success rate, Iron Dome successfully intercepts most short-range rockets that would otherwise strike populated areas, by shooting down incoming projectiles midair.

Noting the system’s proven effectiveness, the Army’s statement said, “Iron Dome will be assessed and experimented as a system that is currently available to protect deployed U.S. military service members against a wide variety of indirect fire threats and aerial threats.”

According to reports from last month, the Army requested $373 million in January from Congress to purchase two Iron Dome batteries, along with launchers, radar systems and 240 interceptor missiles.

Responding to the U.S. Army’s decision, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This is a great achievement for Israel and yet another expression of the strengthening of our powerful alliance with the US and an expression of Israel’s rising status in the world.”

Since 2011, the United States has provided roughly $1.4 billion to develop, maintain and operate the Iron Dome system. Over the next 10 years, the United States will provide an additional $5 billion to fund joint U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation, including on Iron Dome, under the terms of the most recent U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on security assistance.

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