America announces it will buy Iron Dome defence system from Israel

Since 2011, the system has intercepted more than 2,000 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza


The US has announced it will purchase Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence technology, with Benjamin Netanyahu describing the sale as a “great achievement for the country".

US Army spokesman Colonel Patrick Seiber said: "The Iron Dome will be assessed and experimented as a system that is currently available to protect deployed US military service members against a wide variety of indirect fire threats and aerial threats.

"No decisions have been made regarding the fielding or experimentation of Iron Dome in specific theatres.”

The Iron Dome system has been operational in Israel since 2011, having intercepted more than 2,000 rockets fired from Gaza since then.

Rocket fire has become almost regular occurence in southern Israel. The most recent rocker fire from the Gaza strip was on Wednesday night when the IDF said one rocket struck Israeli territory.

Although it was developed and produced by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, the US paid much of the cost.

The current technology enables Israel to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells, although its primary use since inception has been for rockets fired from distances of four kilometres (2.5 miles) to 70 kilometres (43 miles) away.

However, Israel is currently working on increasing the system’s range from 70 kilometres to 250 kilometres (160 miles) as well as giving it the ability to intercept missiles approaching from two different directions at the same time. It is also planning to make the system operational at sea.

In a statement, Israel's Military of Defence said the purchase was made because of the "immediate needs" of the US army.

Mr Netanyahu has called the sale a "great achievement for the country” and described it as “another manifestation of the deepening of our steadfast alliance with the United States, and an expression of Israel's rising status in the world.”

Elements of Iron Dome technology have previously been purchased by other countries as well.

In 2017, the UK announced that it had purchased a version of the system's command and control computer to help protect the Falkland Islands.

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