04:28 GMT02 December 2020
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    The US has taken delivery of the first of two Multi-Mission Radars (MMR), the powerful tracking system behind Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system. Washington bought two Iron Dome batteries from Israel to fill an urgent close-in air defense need.

    According to a report by the Jerusalem Post, the US Army has received the first MMR from Israel’s Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), part of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense R&D. A second radar is due by February 2021.

    The US has ordered two off-the-shelf Iron Dome batteries from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to fill an immediate short-range air defense (SHORAD) need. Built by ELTA Systems, the mobile radars use an active electronically scanned array (AESA) to produce a 3D picture of airspace with up to 1,100 individual targets out to distances of 470 kilometers, according to the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance. However, the Iron Dome’s missiles can only reach out to 70 kilometers.
    Elta EL/M-2084 radar used by Israel's Iron Dome surface-to-air missile system

    The total package includes 12 missile launchers, two radars, two command centers and 240 missiles. The rest of the first battery was delivered in late September; the second is due by February 2021. The Pentagon had initially planned on ordering four systems, but after Jerusalem refused to provide the system’s source code, the order was pared back to just two batteries.

    Without the source code, the Iron Dome cannot be integrated with other layers of US air defenses - an ability other US air defense systems have already demonstrated in Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) tests over the summer at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

    However, IMDO chief Moshe Patel told Defense News in an interview published on Sunday that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would be integrating the Iron Dome with the US network itself, since it uses many of the same air defense systems.

    “All of our systems are fully interoperable, which means we can adapt Iron Dome interceptors, Iron Dome parts of batteries, and make them part of whatever the US Army will decide. For example, they’re going to use the IBCS, so they’re going to have the ability to connect those Iron Dome launchers and the interceptors to the IBCS,” Patel said. He mentioned the US Marine Corps was also interested in buying Iron Domes.

    The US will be buying up several such SHORAD systems and holding a “shoot-off” at White Sands, according to Bruce Jette, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.

    The IDF began using the Iron Dome in 2011 to intercept incoming rockets primarily launched toward Israel from the Gaza Strip. It is reported to have a 90% success rate.

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    Tags:
    Israel, air defense system, US Army, Iron Dome anti-missile system
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