US to purchase Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system

US to purchase Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system
The US army plans to buy a limited number of Israeli's Iron Dome missile defence systems, the military branch said in a statement on Wednesday.

2 min read
06 February, 2019
Critics have called the system "a bluff" [AFP]
Iron’s Dome missile defence system could soon be deployed by the US, reports on Wednesday confirmed, after the US army said it plans to buy a limited number of systems.

"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," the army said in a statement.

The plans to purchase the systems are part of the US army’s options for its long-term needs, the military branch said in the statement on Wednesday.

Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the deal was a "great achievement for Israel. This is another manifestation of the deepening of our steadfast alliance with the United States, and an expression of Israel's rising status in the world."

The deal was confirmed by the Iron Dome's Israeli manufacturer, state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd., though no further details were shared.

US manufacturers, including Raytheon Co among others, provide parts for interceptors already used in the Israeli system.

Israel spent billions to develop, build and reload the system and official White House reports suggest the United States contributed $1.3 billion itself.

The US provides Israel with $3.3 billion per year in military aid until at least 2028, including an annual $500,000 allowance for missile defence systems.

Congress also approved a $705 million missile defence budget for Israel last year.

Israel claims the Iron Dome provides city-sized coverage against Katyusha-style rockets with ranges of between 5 km (3 miles) and 70 km (42 miles), as well as mortar bombs. The system uses small interceptor missiles to shoot down incoming threats and, according to Israeli and US officials, has had a 90 percent success rate in engagements on the Gaza border.

However, critics have dubbed the system “a bluff” and according to a US analyst, the effective interception rate might have been 30 to 40 percent. Theodore A. Postol, an analyst writing for the MIT Technology Review, put the rate at below 10 percent.

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