The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) in the Israel’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems have completed a successful series of flight tests of a new and upgraded version of the Iron Dome missile defense system. The new and upgraded version of the Iron Dome is expected to be delivered to the Israeli Air Force (IAF) for operational use. The test simulated advanced threats which it may face during times of conflict – whether on land or in the sea. The test came amid lingering concerns in Israel that Iran, through its Houthi proxy in Yemen, would attempt to attack the Jewish state with armed drones. It will also be integrated and installed on the Israeli Navy Sa’ar 6 corvettes and will be central to the defense of Israel’s economic waters (EEZ).
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.
With the United States on track to greatly increase funding for Iron Dome, there have been calls for technology transfer and co-production of Iron Dome in the United States. Just as the US and Israel share co-production of the Arrow III missile system, with Boeing manufacturing 40–50 percent of the production content, there has been support in the U.S. Congress, media and think tanks in favor of co-production. Adding Iron Dome to the list of high-tech military programs built jointly by both nations would help further strengthen ties between Israel and the United States. In July 2014 it was announced that Raytheon will be the major U.S. partner in co-production of major components for the Iron Dome’s Tamir intercepting missile. The U.S. firm will supply components through various subcontractors.