The United States military has successfully conducted its first domestic live-fire test of the Iron Dome anti-missile system, the Israeli Defense Ministry announced on Monday.
In a statement, the ministry said that the series of tests – which included the interception of what in an accompanying video appeared to be a drone – was the “first firing attempt with an Iron Dome battery in the United States, operated by U.S. Army soldiers.”
The tests were carried out in collaboration with the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, Israel Aerospace Industries, Haifa-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Amprest Technologies. The tests were conducted at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
Developed by Rafael and Israel Aerospace, the Iron Dome system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells and has been in use by the Israel Defense Forces since 2011.
The United States said in February 2019 that it planned on buying a limited number of Iron Dome batteries to "be assessed and experimented as a system that is currently available to protect deployed U.S. military service members against a wide variety of indirect fire threats and aerial threats.”
In September 2020, the Americans received the first of two batteries that they had ordered, followed by a second delivery in January 2021. After the United States received the first battery, the Israeli Defense Ministry stated that it would be used "in the defense of U.S. troops against a variety of ballistic and aerial threats.”
Less than a month after the delivery of the second battery, Haaretz reported that security sources had indicated that the U.S. was expected to soon begin deploying Iron Dome at its bases in the Persian Gulf.
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Israeli defense sources said that Washington has received the approval of senior Israeli officials to begin deploying the missile defense systems at American military bases in a number of countries, including in the Middle East, Europe and East Asia.