RAFAEL’s CEO, Yoav Har-Even, greeted US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, who had arrived in Israel for the ceremony, and presented him with the second IRON DOME battery recently purchased by the US Army. 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 earlier this fall in record time. These batteries will be deployed in the defense of US troops against a variety of ballistic and aerial threats. The delivery was marked by a symbolic event at the Iron Dome production line of defence contractor Rafael Advanced Systems.
Israel had delivered the first of two Iron Dome Defense System batteries to the US Army, more than a year after the purchase agreement was signed between the two countries. The Iron Dome is a mobile all-weather air defence system designed to protect populated areas and critical assets by intercepting shorter-range targets such as rockets, artillery and mortars. In August last year, the US Army finalised a contract to acquire two Iron Dome missile defence system batteries to enhance its short-range missile defence capabilities. The addition will help the US to fill the need for an interim capability as it does not possess short-range air defence solutions.
Iron Dome (kippat barzel) is a mobile all-weather air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries. The system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to 70 kilometres (43 mi) away and whose trajectory would take them to an Israeli populated area. Israel hopes to increase the range of Iron Dome’s interceptions, from the current maximum of 70 kilometres (43 mi) to 250 kilometres (160 mi) and make it more versatile so that it could intercept rockets coming from two directions simultaneously.
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. In addition to their land-based deployment, Iron Dome batteries will in the future be deployed at sea on Sa’ar 6-class corvettes, where they will protect off-shore gas platforms in conjunction with Israel’s Barak 8 missile system. Iron Dome is part of a future multi-tiered missile defense system that Israel is developing, which includes Arrow 2, Arrow 3, Iron Beam, Barak 8 and David’s Sling.