US Has Iron Dome System Ready to Ship Out to Ukraine, Pentagon Says

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iron dome, united states, pentagon, senate, ukraine, russia, israel, air defense, missile defense

iron dome, united states, pentagon, senate, ukraine, russia, israel, air defense, missile defense

The US acquired two Iron Dome batteries from Israel in late 2020, sending one to Guam in 2021 to get a sense of how the system might perform against Chinese missiles. Israel has used the air defense system extensively against garage-built rockets and drones fired by Palestinian militias, but has never tested it against state actors.

The United States has an Iron Dome system ready to ship out to Ukraine if Kiev asks for it, US Army Space and Missile Defense Commander Daniel Karbler has indicated.

“Our two Iron Dome batteries that we have right now – one completed its new equipment training-new equipment fielding, it is prepared for deployment, the second one is wrapping up its new equipment fielding right now so the Army does have one battery available for deployment [to Ukraine] pending a request for it,” Karbler said, answering a question from Senator Angus King during a meeting of the Senate Subcommittee on Strategic Forces last week.

“Obviously missile defense is very important to the Ukrainians,” King said, while formulating his question. “Why isn’t Iron Dome being deployed to Ukraine? We helped pay for it. We spent something like $3 billion [for] Israel to develop it, $500 million a year my understanding [is]. Wouldn’t this be a very important resource for the Ukrainians, since their principle problem right now is air defense?” the senator asked.

Assistant secretary of defense for space policy John Plumb told King that to date, the US has focused on missile defense systems from its own stocks to send to Ukraine. “You know we’ve supplied Patriot batteries for example, we’ve [made] significant investments in missile defense and we’ve encouraged allies to do the same,” the official said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed reluctance to entertain sending military equipment to Ukraine last month amid reports of growing pressure from Washington to do so. Tel Aviv’s current stance follows a reversal from Netanyahu’s comments in January that Tel Aviv might send an Iron Dome to Kiev.
An Israeli soldier guards an Iron Dome air defense system deployed in the Israeli controlled Golan Heights near the border with Syria, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.04.2023

Netanyahu: No Decision Has Been Made to Provide Ukraine With Arms Supplies
Kiev pleaded with Israel to send Iron Domes to the country last year, with officials saying that Ukraine would be ready to “buy” the system and wasn’t looking for a “donation.”
In early 2022, on the eve of the escalation in Ukraine, Israeli media reported that Tel Aviv halted an attempt by the US to transfer its Iron Dome batteries to Ukraine amid concerns over how Moscow might respond.
First introduced into service with the Israeli military in 2011, the Iron Dome has been used extensively in Israel’s battles against Palestinian and Lebanese militias armed mostly with small rockets and drones. Israel has touted the system as one of the best air defense systems in the world. However, independent analyses of its fire-to-shoot-down ratio have raised questions about just how effective it is, with one study of its use against Hamas rockets during the May 2021 conflict in Gaza revealing that the system had been partially overwhelmed by the Palestinian militia’s mass firing of rockets.

Iron Dome batteries consist of radar and command and control modules and three launchers, the latter armed with 20 Tamir interceptor missiles apiece. Israel has about 12 Iron Dome systems in its arsenal.

A US Patriot missile defence system is pictured at the Hatzor Airforce Base in Israel on March 8, 2018. - - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.04.2023

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