The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) concluded live-fire interception tests of the Iron Dome during which it hit a cruise missile for the first time.
The tests were conducted by the Israel defense ministry’s IMDO in cooperation with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA). It included intercept tests of even advanced version of David’s Sling weapon system.
“For the first time, [the test] assessed the combined interception capabilities of the multi-layered air defense system of the State of Israel,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said. “This is one of the most advanced air-defense mechanisms in the world, and it protects the state from threats near and far.”
Together, David's Sling and Iron Dome make up two layers of Israel's multi-tiered defense array, which also includes the Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 systems. The Arrow system is the first operational missile defense system specifically designed and built to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles. The Iron Dome is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4-70 km away. It now includes cruise missiles and drones. David’s Sling shoots down medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles fired at ranges from 40-300 km.
“I would also like to thank our partners in the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Missile Defense Agency, U.S. government and U.S. Congress, which supports the State of Israel in the development of these systems and aids us in ensuring Israel’s security and operational superiority,” Gantz added.
U.S. Military’s Iron Dome Missile Systems
The U.S. Army ordered two batteries from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which included 12 launchers, two sensors, two battlement management centers and 240 interceptors in 2019. The service in March said it was reconsidering Iron Dome-buy because they cannot be integrated into America’s Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS). Israel has reportedly denied to share the Iron Dome “source code,” necessary for U.S. systems to work with it.
On July 31, the U.S. and Israel signed an agreement to make the THAAD missile interoperable with the Israeli Iron Dome. Defenseworld.net had reported that this agreement could pave way for the U.S. to go ahead with the deal, since it confirms the interoperability between Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles and Iron Dome. The two sides may work out a way to make the Israeli system interoperable with U.S. air defense systems.
Israel completed first delivery of Iron Dome batteries to the U.S. military in September.