The US Army has identified a major gap in its Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) capability – its capacity to defend against anti-aircraft weapons and low-altitude air threats – and pointed out an urgent operational need to fill that gap in the European theater, DefenseNews reported Saturday.
As a result, Israel is getting ready for its Iron Dome – a mobile all-weather air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries – first intercept test in the US. The test is part of the US Army’s selection process of an interim solution for its medium- and short-range air defense system.
The SHORAD demonstration is taking place from Sept. 4 to 16 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
Iron Dome has the best reputation for effective interceptions of incoming air threats, since it was initially deployed on March 27, 2011. To date, the Iron Dome systems has reportedly intercepted more than 1,500 rockets. A Senate report has calculated that “US investment in Iron Dome production since fiscal year 2011” has been be more than $1 billion.
In July 2015, Rafael released video footage of Iron Dome interceptors destroying several low and high-flying UAVs in a test.
In June 2016, it was revealed that the Iron Dome had been tested to successfully intercept salvos of artillery shells as well as multiple air-to-ground precision guided munitions (PGMs).
Rafael partners with US manufacturer Raytheon, which produces more than 50% of components for Iron Dome in the US. As a result, according to industry sources cited by DefenseNews and the Israeli government, should the US Army choose Iron Dome, it will be an entirely US system, with Raytheon as the prime contractor.