Israel delivers first Iron Dome defense system to the US Army

An Iron Dome missile battery seen near Tel Aviv, July 15, 2018. (Ben Dori/Flash90)  

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Israel delivered the first of two Iron Dome missile defense system batteries to the U.S. Army.

The U.S. and Israel signed an agreement for the purchase of two batteries a year ago from its developer, the Haifa-based firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

The batteries will be employed in the defense of U.S. troops against ballistic and aerial threats, Israel’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday in a statement.

On Wednesday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Rafael’s Leshem Institute for an event marking the delivery of the first Iron Dome missile to the U.S.

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In March, the Army canceled plans to purchase more of the batteries because of difficulties integrating them into its existing air defense systems.

Congress has given Israel more than $1.5 billion to produce Iron Dome batteries. In 2014, the U.S. and Israel signed a co-production agreement that would allow parts of the Iron Dome system to be produced in the United States.

Since it was deployed in 2011, Iron Dome has intercepted over 2,400 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza. Along with Iron Dome, Israel employs several other defense systems, including David’s Sling, Arrow-2 and Arrow-3.