Iron Dome intercepts targets and works with US systems in Army test

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JERUSALEM — The U.S. military has completed an Iron Dome air defense system interceptor test, the second such event since two batteries were supplied to service in late 2020.

The recently revealed test at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, which took place in mid-June, was carried out in collaboration with the Israel Missile Defense Organization, according to a statement from the Israeli Defense Ministry. Moshe Patel, the agency’s director, said that during the test, “the system intercepted all threats, while being interoperable with US systems.”

The ministry noted that the test “has taken a critical step towards commissioning the first of two Iron Dome Defense System (IDDS-A) batteries.”

“As part of U.S. Army operational training, U.S. troops operated the system, which operated with peak effectiveness against a variety of threats and intercepted targets at varying ranges,” said Pini Yungman, vice -Executive Chairman and Director of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. air and missile defense unit. The Israeli company participates in the manufacture of Iron Dome.

Statements from the Department of Defense and Rafael both noted that the tests “prepare the system for use by U.S. operational forces by ensuring that it meets U.S. Army safety standards and that the system will work effectively within the US AMD. [air and missile defense] architecture.”

According to statements, the US military plans to field the two Iron Dome Defense System-Army batteries as an interim cruise missile defense solution. The service has deployed an Iron Dome system in Guam since fall 2021.

“It’s important to understand that the implementation for the United States is about the ability to integrate this system into our air defense picture,” said Major General Brian Gibson, director of the cross-functional air defense team. and missile defense, said following the test. “We need to integrate this into our American architecture and give confidence to our regional commanders that we can integrate this system safely into what they have.”

Iron Dome is designed for use at fixed and semi-fixed locations to defend against “Subsonic Cruise Missiles (CMs), Group 2 & 3 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and Rocket Threats, artillery and mortar,” the statement added. , referring to a system by which drones are classified by weight.

The test comes two weeks after the US Marine Corps conducted a successful test of the Iron Dome’s Tamir missile at the same distance.

In the early 2000s, Rafael developed Iron Dome, which uses radar from Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. In the United States, Rafael partners with Raytheon Technologies to produce the system.

« Future variants of the IFPC [Indirect Fire Protection Capability] The program includes technological insertions such as directed energy,” recent Israeli statements said. The addition of directed energy – or laser – technology to the Iron Dome system was shown to US President Joe Biden during his visit to Israel.

Iron Dome has been active for over a decade with the Israel Defense Forces. It was first used against short-range rocket threats from the Gaza Strip, but has since been upgraded to deal with many types of emerging threats. In May 2021, it was publicly revealed to have intercepted a drone for the first time in combat.

The Israel Missile Defense Organization, a division of the Defense Research and Development Directorate of the Defense Ministry, leads the development of Israel’s multi-level air defense systems, including Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Arrow. The US Congress supported all three systems. IMDO partners with the US Missile Defense Agency on systems such as Arrow-4.

Seth Frantzman is the Israeli correspondent for Defense News. He has covered conflicts in the Middle East since 2010. He has experience covering the international coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and he is co-founder and executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis. .

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