The U.S. Army announced on Wednesday that it will purchase Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system for use in protecting soldiers from indirect fire. The system can spot incoming rockets, target them and shoot them down. File Photo by Jim Hollander/EPA-EFE
Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army will purchase Israeli-made and battle-tested Iron Dome missile defense system, it announced on Wednesday.
The system is meant to protect soldiers from indirect-fire battlefield threats by intercepting and destroying incoming missiles, rockets and other artillery.
Developed by Israel's state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, the system has been a part of the Israeli Air Force strategy of urban protection since 2011.
"The Iron Dome will be assessed and experimented as a system that is currently available to protect deployed U.S. military service members against a wide variety of indirect fire threats and aerial threats," U.S. Army spokesman Col. Patrick Seibert said in a statement. He added that "no decisions have been made regarding the fielding or experimentation of Iron Dome in specific theaters," and that the purchase is meant to "fill a short-term need for an interim indirect fire protection capability."
The transportable system, which takes hours to install, uses radar to identify an incoming target, and fires a missile to neutralize it.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the sale "a great achievement for Israel" and "further proof of our solid bond with the U.S., as well of Israel's rising status in the world. Israel has an Iron Dome and an iron fist. Our systems can face any threat."
The cost of the deal between the Israeli Defense Ministry and the U.S. Department of Defense, and the number of missile batteries to be purchased, was not announced. Rafael ADS confirmed the purchase.
Singapore considered purchasing the system in 2010, and in 2016 Yavar Jamalov, Azerbaijan's defense minister, said his country would purchase it.