US Marine Corps Considers Purchasing Israel’s Iron Dome
Israeli sources say that the Iron Dome system has so far intercepted 85 percent of all Gaza projectiles.
A recent report by the Marine Corps Times highlighted an interest by the U.S. Marines Corps (USMC) in purchasing the air defense system used by Israel which is known as the Iron Dome or SkyHunter in the U.S.
The Marine Corps Times suggested that due to advancing military capabilities of both Russia and China, in addition to the proliferation of drone technology among small terrorist groups, the U.S. is considering ways to enhancing the Marines’ defense systems.
The report referenced briefing slides prepared for the Senate Armed Services Committee by the USMC – slides that showed a USMC request for limited funding in 2019 to carry out tests for integrating the SkyHunter system with the Corp’s Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR).
In late 2018, the U.S. Army purchased two Iron Dome batteries from Israel. The purchase came years after the Israeli military technology had proved effective. The technology was first deployed in southern Israel, back in 2011, to intercept Gaza-based rockets that are frequently fired into the south of the country.
Israeli sources say that the Iron Dome system has so far intercepted 85 percent of all Gaza projectiles, creating a turning point in the conflict between Israel and the Gaza-based armed resistance groups, led by the ruling Islamist Hamas party.
Earlier this month, during a new round of fighting between Israel and the Gaza-based factions, the Israeli Iron Dome system intercepted more than 240 of the 690 rockets fired by Gaza’s armed resistance groups.
Sources suggest that an Iron Dome missile head carries 10 kg. of explosives that intercepts rockets from as far away as 70km. The system also differentiates between rockets that fall on open areas and those that hit civilian-populated areas.
Though the United States has it’s own defense system, known as THAAD, which intercepts medium-range ballistic missiles and destroys them, the U.S. lacks a defense system like the Iron Dome that can intercept short-range missiles.
The U.S. believes its need for such an anti-short-range missile defense system has been growing and the U.S. has, therefore, sought to fill in the gap in its aerial defense capabilities.