The Jerusalem Post reports today that the U.S. Army is considering the purchase of Israel’s Iron Dome short-range missile defense system to protect bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Iron Dome was developed in response to persistent rocket attacks by the Palestinian Hamas terror group in Gaza, and the Hizbollah terror organization in southern Lebanon, both of which target Israeli civilians.
The system was deployed in southern Israel earlier this year, and has been largely successful.
In its first operational use, Iron Dome destroyed 8 of 9 rockets fired at Israel on April 7, 2011. Ido Efrati, writing in Israel’s left-wing Ha’aretz, has criticized the cost of the program, saying that the high cost of missile defense could “bankrupt” Israel. Sales to the U.S. Army could help defray that cost.
The Post first reported the U.S. Army’s interest in Iron Dome in November, noting that the Israeli manufacturer was cooperating with U.S.-based Raytheon to market the system, which could work in coordination with existing U.S. Army defenses.
A decision on Iron Dome is expected next month. If a deal is struck, technology that was developed to protect civilians could soon be deployed to protect American forces in the field.