Israel Wraps Up Tests to Improve Iron Dome Anti-missile System

For the first time, the system now has been making use of American-made components.

An Iron Dome battery in action in July 2014 during Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.
Tsafrir Abayov / AP

Israel's Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that it recently completed a series of tests to improve the capabilities of Israel's Iron Dome missile interception system.

For the first time, the system has now made use of American-made components in the course of the missile interception tests, the ministry's statement said. This is made possible by a production agreement signed with the United States, allowing Israel to manufacture Iron Dome components in the United States with the involvement of the Massachusetts–based defense contractor Raytheon.

As of 2015, about 55 percent of Iron Dome's components have been produced in the United States.

The Israeli Defense Minister statement did not detail what was being tested in the now-concluded series of tests. The system already proved its operational effectiveness during the war in the summer of 2014 between Israel and Hamas and its allies in the Gaza Strip. During that war, the Iron Dome system was deployed to intercept barrages of rockets fired at Israeli population centers. About two weeks ago, an Iron Dome battery permanently deployed in Eilat intercepted three rockets fired from Sinai at the Red Sea resort town.

In a recording that was released by the ministry's spokesman's office, Moshe Fatal, who heads Homa, the Defense Ministry agency responsible for the development of defense systems, said the recent series of tests of Iron Dome were "complex," adding: "For the first time, interceptors were fired, some of which were manufactured by Raytheon in the United States and by its subcontractors."

Referring to a second Israeli missile interception system, Fatal added that the recent series of tests follow testing carried out two to three weeks ago of Magic Wand (also known as David's Sling), which "together bolster the defensive capabilities of the State of Israel against short-range and medium-range missiles."