JERUSALEM, Israel – Israel has long praised its Iron Dome missile defense system for protecting millions of Israelis from enemy rocket fire.
Now, the United States will be able to use the Israeli technology to defend US troops against ballistic and aerial threats. Israel on Wednesday officially delivered the first of two Iron Dome batteries to the US military.
The move comes after the US signed a deal with Israel in August 2019 to obtain the batteries.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Israel is proud to help defend American lives.
“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,” Gantz said in a statement.
The Iron Dome, created by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has been in operation since 2011 and has intercepted more than 2,400 threats with a success rate of more than 90%.
Pini Yungman, Rafael Executive Vice President and Head of Rafael's Air and Missile Defense Division, said the two Iron Dome batteries were tailored specifically for the US military’s needs.
"The Iron Dome system which will serve the U.S. military is tailored according to U.S. requirements. This being said, it's 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,” said Yungman.
Israel marked the delivery of the first battery in a symbolic event at the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’ Iron Dome Production Line.
“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,” the head of the Israeli Missile Defense Organization said.
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