Israel had been struggling to sell the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system abroad, but the Israel Defense website revealed on Sunday that a major purchaser has been found: the United States.
Apparently the US Army will acquire one Iron Dome battery, and based on tests it will conduct on the system decide whether or not to purchase more units of the Israeli defense system that reportedly boasted a 90% hit rate in Operation Protective Edge.
Israel Defense notes that at the beginning of Iron Dome’s development the US Army didn’t have much confidence in the system, which is why it was funded with a special budget and not the ordinary annual US defense budget that is allocated for other anti-missile systems such as the Arrow.
Having seen the system proven in war, the US now apparently is considering deploying it to defend military establishments and US soldiers around the world, as its short-range missile defense capability is not in great demand in America.
This is kinda interesting. The US paid some of the initial development work, and a good bit of the procurement for a second series of Iron Dome batteries.
The US uses a modified Mk15 Phalanx in the C-RAM role, or Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar.
But the Phalanx has a fairly small envelope that it can defend. For a larger outpost, it takes several to provide coverage. And the gun on the Phalanx is maintenance intensive.
Iron Dome, on the other hand, can cover a larger footprint with just one battery control. Further, the missiles are ammunition. That is, they require little or no maintenance in normal usage. The sealed cannister just sits there and waits to be used.
And since the majority of the development work has been paid for, it should be a relatively low cost acquisition.