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Israel set to deploy rocket defense system

July 22, 2010 at 12:29 PM

TEL AVIV, Israel, July 22 (UPI) -- Israel's Defense Ministry says the first batteries of its "Iron Dome" counter-rocket artillery mortar system will be deployed in November.

Iron Dome is a combination of detection and tracking radars with vertically launched guided interceptor missiles to destroy incoming Katyusha rockets and smaller mortar rounds. It is viewed as the lowest level of a multi-tiered defensive system, targeting rockets, mortars and artillery rounds out to 43 miles, a report from Defense Tech stated.

Defense Tech, in a report on the deployment, said the Israeli military was unhappy over the cost of the system that has been in development for years. News reports put development costs at $250 million, with each battery costing about $50 million.

It's estimated that the cost of each intercept of a Katyusha or other rounds would be close to $50,000. Iron Dome is manufactured by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense System Ltd.

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama promised Israel this year about $205 million for the system's development.

"Iron Dome fills a gap in Israel's multi-tiered defense system," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro said recently. "Israel has conducted thorough tests of Iron Dome components and we've conducted an evaluation of our own. We are confident that Iron Dome will provide improved defense for the people of Israel."

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