Israel delivers first Iron Dome air defense missile system to US Army

According to a press release published by Rafael on September 30, 2020, the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), in the Directorate of Defense R&D (DDR&D), of the Israel Ministry of Defense, delivered the first of two Iron Dome Air Defense Missile System batteries to the U.S. Army. On this occasion, a symbolic event was held at the Iron Dome production line of defense contractor, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
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Official delivery of Iron Dome air defense missile system to the U.S. Army (Picture source Rafael)

Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz: "The Iron Dome system, as a part of [Israel's] multi-layered missile defense system, reflects the strength of the Israeli defense establishment. As a result of the effectiveness of this system, many deaths were prevented on the home front of southern Israel, and it has a significant impact on the battlefield. I am proud that this advanced system will also protect U.S. Army troops. This is an extraordinary achievement for both the Ministry of Defense and for Israel's excellent defense industries.

Last week I visited the United States and met with senior officials in the U.S. Department of Defense and the military. Among other things, we discussed procurement and information sharing in the field of technology. The completion of this agreement serves as further proof that the defense alliance [between the U.S. and Israel], is based on common values and interests, which are stronger than ever."

The event was conducted in the presence of Israeli Defense Minister, Benny Gantz, Minister of Economy, Amir Peretz, Head of the DDR&D, Dr. Dani Gold, Head of the IMDO, Moshe Patel Rafael Chairman, Dr. Uzi Landau, and Rafael CEO, Yoav Har-Even. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was conducted in accordance to regulations set by the Ministry of Health.

In August 2019 the United States and Israel signed an agreement for the procurement of two Iron Dome Defense System batteries (IDDS-A). The first battery was delivered in record time, and the second battery will be delivered in the near future within the framework of the agreement. These batteries will be employed in the defense of US troops against a variety of ballistic and aerial threats.

Head of the IMDO in the DDR&D of the Ministry of Defense: "In the coming year, The Iron Dome system will complete ten years of operational activity, with over 2,400 interceptions. This activity has saved thousands of lives. It is a great privilege for the State of Israel to deliver the first out of two Iron Dome batteries to the U.S. Army, for the protection of American troops. The very fact that we are handing over the first battery, a year after the agreement was signed, is an achievement in itself- alongside production for the benefit of the State of Israel, we have met the requirements of the U.S. military."

Rafael Executive Vice President and Head of Air and Missile Defense Division, Pini Yungman: "The Iron Dome system which will serve the U.S. military is tailored according to U.S. requirements. This being said, its performance capabilities, as seen in Israel, will remain the same. We began the project with a series of tests and demonstrations in the 'White Sands' testing field in the US. To date, we have conducted three demonstrations and intercepted targets chosen by the U.S. Army for the Iron Dome system."

The Iron Dome system has been operational in Israel since 2011 and has demonstrated its outstanding capabilities with over 2400 successful interceptions of incoming threats. It is an integral part of Israel's multi-layered defense array developed by the IMDO. The defense array includes the Iron Dome, David's Sling, Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 weapon systems.

The prime contractor for the development and production of the Iron Dome is Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The MMR radar is developed by ELTA, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and the command and control system (BMC), is developed by mPrest.

Israel delivers first Iron Dome air defene missile system to US Army 925 002
A missile from the Israeli Iron Dome, launched during Operation Pillar of Defense to intercept a missile coming from the Gaza strip.

The Iron Dome is an air defense missile system developed and manufactured by the Israeli Company Rafael to provide a new combat solution able to counter rockets, artillery and mortar ammunition, Precision Guide Munition (PGM) VSHORAD (Very SHOrt Range Air Defence) for land and sea. The Iron Dome is an effective system for countering C-RAM (Counter rocket, artillery, and mortar) threats and for NG VSHORAD protection. The system operates day and night and in all weather conditions, including low clouds, rain, dust storms, or fog. It protects cities, towns and strategic assets, maneuvering forces, as well as ships. It can handle multiple threats simultaneously and efficiently. 

Iron Dome was declared operational and initially deployed on 27 March 2011 near Beersheba. On 7 April 2011, the system successfully intercepted a BM-21 Grad launched from Gaza for the first time. On 10 March 2012, The Jerusalem Post reported that the system shot down 90% of rockets launched from Gaza that would have landed in populated areas. By November 2012, official statements indicated that it had intercepted over 400 rockets. By late October 2014, the Iron Dome systems had intercepted over 1,200 rockets.

An Iron Dome typical air defense missile battery consists of a radar unit, missile control unit, and several launchers, all located at the same site. Each launcher, containing 20 interceptors, is independently deployed and operated remotely via a secure wireless connection. Reportedly, each Iron Dome battery is capable of protecting an urban area of approximately 150 square kilometers. The system is designed to counter short-range rockets and 155 mm artillery shells with a range of up to 70 kilometers.