Saudi Arabia has purchased an Iron Dome battery from Israel, al-Khaleej Online reported Thursday. According to the report, Saudi Arabia has shown an interest recently in purchasing the mobile, all-weather air defense system, and the acquisition was carried out through American mediation at secret meetings in Washington.
Al-Khaleej Online cited a diplomatic source wishing to remain anonymous, who said that Israel initially rejected the possibility of selling the system to an Arab state, but after pressure from Washington, Israel was convinced and the deal was carried out.
In 2012, the US Senate Armed Services Committee included $210 million for Iron Dome.
The transaction’s value is estimated at tens of millions of dollars, and the parties signed a commitment that the system would not pose a danger to Israel and its allies in the near or distant future.
“If Iron Dome succeeds in intercepting rockets that pose a threat to the Kingdom, there will be talks to acquire additional military systems and opening the way for military trade between the two countries,” the report says.
According to Monthly Missile Defense, while the typical air defense missile battery consists of a radar unit, missile control unit, and several launchers, all located at the same site, Iron Dome is built to deploy in a scattered pattern. Each launcher, containing 20 interceptors, is independently deployed and operated remotely via a secure wireless connection. Each iron dome battery is capable of protecting an urban area of approximately 60 square miles.
The surface area of Manhattan is approximately 23 square miles.
Al-Khaleej Online mentions IDF Chief of Staff, Lieut. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot’s interview with a Saudi newspaper in which the Eizenkot said Israel was open to exchanging intelligence information with the moderate Arab countries that share common interests with her, including, especially, on the Iranian threat. The interview is cited as evidence of the strength of diplomatic and military relations between Tel Aviv and Riyadh.
The report quotes an Israeli official who said, after a meeting in London with two senior Saudi officials, that they had told him that Israel and Saudi Arabia were no longer enemies.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which makes the Iron Dome, has not said there was a sale.
The Israeli Ministry of Defense firmly denies the Al-Khaleej report.