Military

US lawmakers table bill to authorise Iron Dome purchase

Two US lawmakers have introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to enable the purchase of two Israel-made Iron Dome short-range rocket defence system batteries.

Known as the US-Israel Indirect Fire Protection Act of 2019, the bill was sponsored by Democratic Representative Mikie Sherrill (New Jersey) and Republican Joe Wilson (South Carolina).

The bill seeks to authorise the US Army Secretary to make the purchase.

Sherrill said: “Iron Dome is a proven defence system that will provide increased protection for our troops in the field.

“Access to this technology addresses critical gaps in our current capabilities. It is an important interim step as we invest in the future of our military, and I’m glad to join with Representative Wilson, my colleague on the armed services committee, to introduce this bill.”

In February, reports emerged that the US Army was planning to buy the Iron Dome weapons system, which is developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

The US has been providing financial assistance for the programme to develop Iron Dome since fiscal year 2011.

An intergovernmental agreement was signed with Israel in March 2014 to enable co-production of Iron Dome’s components in the US. Raytheon joined Rafael as a partner in the production of the system.

“Iron Dome is a proven defence system that will provide increased protection for our troops in the field.”

Equipped with Tamir interceptors, the Iron Dome system can intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells.

Appearing before the house armed services committee in April, Chief of Staff of the US Army general Mark Milley stated: “The Iron Dome is a very capable system. It has basically a 100% track record in combat. We clearly need it to protect our formations.”

The weapon system was first fielded in 2011 and is in service with the Israeli Military.

It includes a multi-mission launcher that can fire a variety of interceptor missiles.

Each Iron Dome battery consists of three to four stationary launchers, 20 Tamir missiles and a battlefield radar.

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