Israel to order more Iron Dome systems

Tel Aviv
Source:
This story is sourced from Flight International
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The Israeli government is likely to approve funds to acquire more Iron Dome mobile air defence systems from Rafael, following the equipment's early strong performance in shooting down rockets launched from the Gaza strip.

An initial two systems have been deployed by the Israeli air force. One of these performed its first intercept on 7 April, when it destroyed a BM-21 Grad 122mm rocket near the city of Ashqelon.

Another eight rockets were intercepted over the following few days, while others with a trajectory projected to land in open, unpopulated areas were ignored.

The Israeli government is expected to request that the USA approve an emergency procurement worth $250 million, with this to allow the air force to order at least four more Iron Dome systems.

However, one source suggests that the follow-on acquisition will be made regardless of whether money is secured from Washington, noting: "This system changes the situation completely, and we need more". Sources indicate that 13 Iron Dome systems would be required to defend all "sensitive areas" in Israel from attack by short-range rockets and artillery shells.

Each system comprises a tracking radar, battle management and weapons control unit, missile firing unit and interceptors which can be launched at threats from a distance of up to 70km (38nm) away.

Foreign sources suggest that Singapore has already purchased the Iron Dome system. International interest is likely to increase now that the equipment has succeeded in its first real-world intercepts.