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The New Arab Staff

Israel delivers first Iron Dome missile defence radar to US army

The rest of the first battery was delivered on 30 September [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 November, 2020

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Commentators say the Iron Dome's ability to intercept Katyusha-style rockets and mortars at very short ranges could be useful in protecting the US from attack by Iran's proxies in Iraq.

Israel has delivered the first of two Multi-Mission Radars (MMRs) to the United States Army, to be used in conjunction with two Iron Dome missile defence system batteries procured by the Pentagon in an August 2019 deal, according to Israeli media report.

The US Army received the first MMR, built by ELTA Systems, from Israel's Missile Defense Organization, which is part of the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense.

"We are proud to supply our most advanced system to our allies, the US Army", said Yoav Tourgeman, vice president and CEO of ELTA.

"The MMR radar addresses a broad range of needs by locating and tracking incoming rockets and artillery shells and by providing a comprehensive aerial situation assessment. The MMR will maintain our allies' military edge," he added.

The rest of the battery was delivered on 30 September, and the delivery of the second is slated for February 2021.

The US purchased two off-the-shelf batteries from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in August 2019, which included 12 missile launchers, two sensors, two battle management systems and 240 interceptors, in a deal worth thought to be worth $300 million.

The package also included the MMR radars produced by ELTA and a command a control system developed by mPrest.

Read more: US to purchase Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system

Some commentators say the Iron Dome offers advantages over existing US systems, both in cost efficiency and the ability to intercept Katushya-style rockets and mortar at very short ranges of between 5k to 70km.

Primarily used to intercept rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel, the Iron Dome could be of use to US military installations in Iraq, as well as its embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone, which are often the target of rocket attacks by Iran-backed militias.

While American and Israeli officials say the system enjoys a 90 percent success rate in engagement on the Gaza border, critics have dubbed the system a "bluff", with one US analyst saying the effective interception rate was between 30 to 40 percent.

Theodore A. Postol, an analyst writing for the MIT Technology Review, put the rate at below 10 percent.

Separately on Wednesday, the Israeli military deployed the missile defense system along the border with the Gaza over concerns Islamic Jihad militants could fire rockets from the coastal enclave to mark the one-year anniversary of the assignation of the group's influential commander, Baha Abu al-Ata, Haaretz report.

The IDF are also said to be preparing for the possibility of longer-range rocket fire which could strike deeper into Israeli territory.

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