Photo Credit: Ministry of Defense
Iron Dome

RAFAEL, the US Army, and the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) have successfully completed a live fire test of the first US Army Iron Dome Defense System (IDDS-A) Battery, which the U.S. acquired from Israel.

The performance and live fire test was conducted at the White Sands New Mexico (WSMR) test range and marks the first time US soldiers intercepted live targets employing the Iron Dome System. Additional Iron Dome developers – IAI Elta and mPrest – also supported the test.

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US Army soldiers assigned to 3-43 Air Defense Artillery Battalion successfully detected, tracked, and intercepted multiple CM and UAS surrogate targets. The testing prepares the system for U.S. operational forces use by ensuring it meets U.S. Army safety standards and that the system will effectively operate within the U.S. AMD architecture.

The test was described by military officials as being a “critical step” toward fielding the first of two Iron Dome Defense System-Army (IDDS-A) batteries. IDDS-A will defend supported forces within fixed and semi-fixed locations against sub-sonic Cruise Missiles (CM), Groups 2&3 Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and rockets, artillery, and mortar threats.

In August 2019 the United States and Israel signed an agreement for the procurement of two IDDS-A batteries. The batteries were delivered in 2020 and have undergone a process of acceptance testing and operator training over the past months. The US Army Iron Dome System (IDDS-A) is designed to defend supported forces against a range of threats including cruise missiles, unmanned aircraft systems, rockets, artillery and mortar threats.

RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems is the prime contractor for the development and production of Iron Dome.

Rafael states that Iron Dome is combat-proven, with over 2,000 interceptions. The multi-mission system effectively counters rockets, mortars and artillery shells, as well as aircraft, helicopters and UAVs at very short range.

Israel’s Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), is a division within the Directorate of Defense Research and Development (DDR&D), at Israel’s Ministry of Defense. IMDO is responsible for the development, management and improvement of Israel’s active defense systems including interceptors, launchers, radars, command and control systems, network connectivity and more. Today, Israel is protected by a multi-layered defense array, which includes the Arrow-2, Arrow-3, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome active defense systems. Together, they defend Israel against various airborne threats.

The US Army plans to field both Iron Dome Defense System-Army (IDDS-A) batteries as an interim cruise missile defense solution, while the US Army continues to acquire an enduring IFPC Inc2 system. Future variants of the IFPC program include technology insertions such as directed energy, which will provide a critical protection capability against sub-sonic Cruise Missiles, Groups 2&3 Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and Rockets, Artillery, and Mortars threats.

Maj. Gen. Brian Gibson, Director AMD CFT, commented, “It’s important to understand that implementation for the U.S. is about the ability to integrate this system into our air defense picture. We need to integrate this into our U.S. architecture, and to give confidence to our regional commanders that we can integrate this system safely into what they have.”

IMDO Director in the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Mr. Moshe Patel said, “This is the second interception test since the two batteries were supplied to the US Army at the end of 2020. In this test as well, the system intercepted all the threats, while being interoperable with US systems.”

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