US deploying its only 2 Iron Dome batteries to Israel


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.

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.”

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.

“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 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.”


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Frieda Powers
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