The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency's budget for 2014 contains, for the first time in its regular annual budget, funding for the purchase of new Iron Dome missile defense systems for Israel, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
According to the Missile Defense Agency budget documents posted online last week, the agency seeks $220 million for missile batteries for Israel during fiscal year 2014, which starts in October, and an additional $175.9 million in 2015.
The Missile Defense Agency's budget still has to make its way through the United States' Congress before one can say that the funding has been approved. If it is approved, it will be added to the $486 million already provided to Israeli Iron Dome missile defense systems by the U.S. government over the past few years.
These funds are new money," Missile Defense Agency spokesman Richard Lehner wrote Bloomberg in an e- mail. "It is the first time funding specifically for Iron Dome procurement has been requested in our budget submission.
The Iron Dome is an air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense System, designed to intercept short-range rockets and mortar shells. Israel deployed the system first in the south in April 2011 to intercept rockets from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli-developed system uses cameras and radar to track incoming rockets and is supposed to shoot them down within seconds of their launch.
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