A Defense Department official confirmed that the US is returning its two Iron Dome air defense systems to Israel in the wake of the Hamas terrorist attack on the nation launched earlier this month.
Details on the two systems were not immediately clear but reports indicate the batteries will likely come from the Army which a few years ago purchased the systems that are made by Israeli defense company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
“The U.S. will be flowing additional Iron Dome support to Israel,” the defense official told The Hill. “As a result, the Department of Defense is currently engaged in planning to support the provision of U.S. Iron Dome batteries to Israel.”
The decision comes as Ukraine has begged the US for years to do the same thing.
The United States will transfer two Iron Dome air defense missile batteries to Israel
Previously, the Pentagon purchased two Israeli Iron Dome systems to protect it’s bases.
Ukraine persistently requested one of these air defense systems, but was rejected. pic.twitter.com/ZZI4PCwe1e
— The Saviour (@stairwayto3dom) October 19, 2023
In addition to other equipment supplied to Israel following the Oct. 7 attack, last weekend Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the Pentagon would also be sending a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery and Patriot air defense battalions even as President Joe Biden has made a pitch for more funding for Israel and Ukraine.
Although the purchase of the two systems by the U.S. Army was intended to fill a gap in cruise missile defense while other options were explored, the Army “has scarcely used the two batteries it has,” according to Defense News which noted that “the systems have sat with a unit at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.”
Israel ‘Iron Dome’:
-90% interception success rate
-Each battery has 3-4 launchers and 20 missiles
-Range of 60 square miles (155 square km)
-10 Iron Dome batteries deployed as of 2021 (number is likely higher presently)
-Each missile costs $40,000-50,000 USD
— Global Conflict Watch (@GloballyWatch) October 24, 2023
In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a bipartisan group of senators asked the Pentagon to give the two Iron Dome batteries to Israel.
I called for the release of these unused Iron Dome batteries last week to help bolster Israel’s defense. Glad to see @DeptofDefense is making it happen.
Right now, U.S. dollars should only be focused on helping Israel destroy Iran-backed Hamas terrorists & bringing hostages home… https://t.co/4sQwxHzPOY
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) October 19, 2023
“As you know, the United States Army is currently in possession of two Iron Dome batteries that have not been deployed and have no operational use inside the United States where they are currently stored,” the senators wrote. “Immediately transferring these two Iron Dome batteries that are not in use to Israel would provide tangible, life-saving and sustained support to our ally as it faces rocket and missile salvos that threaten to overwhelm its defenses.
“We likewise implore you to provide Israel with other defensive assets that could be useful as it faces this unprecedented onslaught of terrorist violence,” they added.
The United States is preparing to Send at least 2 “Iron Dome” Air Defense Batteries which were Purchased by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2020 and 2021 back to Israel in the coming weeks in order to Reinforce the Israeli Air Defense Array. pic.twitter.com/oCrAJyBB6Z
— OSINTdefender (@sentdefender) October 19, 2023
The Iron Dome, which Israel activated in 2011, “is a series of batteries that use radars to detect incoming short-range rockets and intercept them,” according to the Associated Press.
“Each battery has three or four launchers, 20 missiles, and a radar, according to Raytheon, the U.S. defense giant that co-produces the system with Israel’s Rafael Defense Systems,” the outlet continues. “Once the radar detects a rocket, the system determines whether the rocket is headed toward a populated area. If so, it launches a missile to intercept and destroy the rocket. If the system determines the rocket is headed to an open area or into the sea, it is allowed to land, thus conserving missiles. According to the military, all interceptions occur in Israeli airspace.”
I applaud the decision to send US Iron Dome batteries to Israel. I helped advance language in the FY2019 NDAA directing the US Army to procure these systems, and our team recently pressed the Pentagon on this urgent need for our Israeli friends https://t.co/y9gprvkMdz https://t.co/H9uWDIcdGV
— Rep. Don Bacon (@RepDonBacon) October 21, 2023
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