The U.S. Defense Department announced it was providing $429 million to Israel for further development of its aerial defenses, specifically the Iron Dome system. In a statement, the Defense Department said that the funding would provide increased security for Israel, as well as “significant co-production opportunities” for Israeli and American companies. The system, designed in Israel, is being co-produced by Rafael, Israel Aircraft Industries, and Boeing in the U.S.
Iron Dome is one of three Israeli airborne defense systems designed to prevent missile attacks on Israel, with the other two, David's Sling and Arrow, designed to provide a defensive shield against medium and long-range missiles respectively. The Iron Dome system was used extensively in 2012 during Operation Pillar of Cloud, as Hamas shot hundreds of missiles at Israeli cities, with several aimed at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The system successfully deflected several attacks that would have caused great damage in numerous cities had the missiles made their mark, Israeli officials said. According to American investigative reporter Mark Thompson, the lack of Israeli casualties in the war, compared to the number of missiles fired at Israel, indicated that "Iron Dome is the most-effective, most-tested missile shield the world has ever seen."
There are seven Iron Dome batteries in place around Israel and it is the Defense Ministry's goal to double that number by the end of 2015 to complete its vision of complete coverage, officials said.