US Army Denies it is Buying Iron Dome

Despite reports to the contrary, US Army denies buying Iron Dome technology. Experts say US stands much to gain from such a deal, though.

Cynthia Blank,

Iron Dome near southern Israeli city of Ashdo
Iron Dome near southern Israeli city of Ashdo

The United States Army is denying Israeli media reports that it has purchased Iron Dome - the US funded missile-defense system that boasted a 90-percent hit rate in the recent Gaza conflict, Operation Protective Edge.

“News reports about a sale of Iron Dome to the Army aren’t true,” Dov Schwartz of Army Public Affairs told in an email. “The Army hasn’t purchased Iron Dome.”

Schwartz's statement came in response to a recent Arutz Sheva report, based on information from the Israel Defense website, that the US Army will acquire one Iron Dome Battery to test on their system, before deciding whether or not to purchase more units of the Israeli defense system.  

Arutz Sheva's report also noted that the deal would bring together Israel-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems – the company that developed Iron Dome with financial assistance from the United States – and the American company Raytheon to "develop Iron Dome on American soil.”

Neither company has made a comment on the deal that the Israeli website has confirmed and the US Army is denying. 

Despite their denials, though, the United States has good reason to want such a deal.

According to Rebeccah Heinrichs, a foreign-policy analyst and former manager of the House Missile Defense Caucus, US taxpayers “contributed about $720 million for the Israeli company Rafael to develop the system," not including the additional $225 million congress approved a few days later.

So taxpayers and army officials have a valid reason for wanting the technology for themselves. 

Additionally, while US has other anti-missile and defense system, Heinrichs argues those systems “cannot defend against a Chinese or Russian missile assault. They have more missiles than our system can handle, and Chinese and Russian missiles have countermeasures and decoys specifically designed to fool the US system.”

The deal would also be advantageous for Israel, paving a way for them to offer the system for sale to several other interested countries, such as India, Poland, Ukraine and South Korea.

An additional third-party victor of such a deal could be the Gulf states who wish to acquire Iron Dome technology while still maintaining a semblance of a boycott against Israel.

Indeed, Avnis Patel, a member of the British RUSI research institute, told Arutz Sheva, “Arab and Muslim countries – especially Gulf countries bordering Iran – would primarily benefit from the system, but many do not want to buy Israeli arms.”