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U.S. Army conducts live fire test of its first Iron Dome Defense System Battery

The U.S. Army executed a life-fire test of Iron Dome Defense System at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Photo courtesy of Program Executive Office Missiles and Space/U.S. Army
The U.S. Army executed a life-fire test of Iron Dome Defense System at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Photo courtesy of Program Executive Office Missiles and Space/U.S. Army

Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army has successfully executed live-fire test of its first Iron Dome Defense System (IDDS-A) Battery, the branch announced Monday.

The execution of the live-fire test of the first of two IDDS-A batteries, which the U.S. Army acquired from Israel, at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico was "a critical step" forward, the U.S. Army said in a statement.

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Soldiers from 3-43 Air Defense Artillery Battalion, a subordinate unit assigned to the 11th ADA Brigade in Fort Bliss, Texas, successfully engaged eight cruise missile surrogate targets as part of the live fire test, according to the Army's statement.

The Army plans to field both IDDS-A batteries as "an interim cruise missile defense solution," the statement added.

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The test was conducted in conjunction with Israel's Missile Defense Organization and its Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Israel's Ministry of Defense announced in a series of tweets.

"The performance and live fire test was conducted at the White Sands New Mexico test range, and was the first time U.S. soldiers intercepted live targets employing the Iron Dome System," Israel's Ministry of Defense tweeted. "Iron Dome developers Rafael, IAI Elta and mPrest supported the test."

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Israel's Ministry of Defense said in a statement to Haaretz that the series of tests, including the interception of what appeared to be a drone in an accompanying video was the "first firing attempt with an Iron Dome battery in the United States, operated by U.S. Army soldiers."

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The Iron Dome anti-missile system previously intercepted a cruise missile in December for the first time as part of a series of live-fire tests.

The first IDDS-A batteries developed by Rafael, with MMR radar developed by ELTA, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, was delivered to the United States in September 2019, and the second IDDS-A battery was delivered in January 2021.

The U.S. Army announced in February 2019 that it would purchase the Israeli-made and battle-tested Iron Dome anti-missile system with the goal to protect soldiers from indirect battlefield threats by intercepting and destroying incoming missiles, rockets and other artillery.

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By August 2019, the United States agreed to procure two IDDS-A batteries from Israel to defend U.S. forces.

The IDDS-A systems were delivered last year and have undergone a process of acceptance testing and operating training, according to the U.S. Army statement.

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