US says Israeli-made Iron Dome ready to ship out to Ukraine
The United States says one of the two Israeli-made Iron Dome anti-missile systems is ready for deployment to Ukraine pending a request from Kiev.
In a US Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces session about missile-defense issues on Thursday, US Army Space and Missile Defense Commanding General Daniel Karbler told the Senate one of the US-funded batteries is ready to be deployed to Ukraine, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.
Karbler was responding to Sen. Angus King’s question about the reason for Kiev not receiving the system.
“We sent something like $3 billion to Israel to develop it… Wouldn’t this be a very important resource for the Ukrainians since their principal problem right now is missile defense?” King asked.
Karbler in response said the US currently has two Iron Dome batteries, one has completed new equipment fielding and is ready for deployment, and the other is not.
“So the army does have one (Iron Dome battery) available for deployment if we get a request” from Ukraine, the general said.
Israel has been reluctant to provide Ukraine with weapons, including the Iron Dome. The regime’s foreign ministry was even denounced by Kiev lately for sending two senior diplomats to Russia earlier this month on a rare visit, with the Ukrainian government saying, “Neutrality is not an option.”
But in February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tel Aviv would consider the possibility of providing Ukraine with arms and even providing Kiev with the Iron Dome.
“The issue of arms supplies was considered and rejected by the previous Israeli” cabinet. “I will study this issue and answer this matter in the most adequate manner,” he said in an interview with France’s LCI TV during his visit to France.
When asked whether “Israel” was considering providing Kiev with Iron Dome, Netanyahu said, “Yes, I’m thinking about it. That’s all I can say. I can’t make any promises. We have to see what options are available and also take into account Israel’s interests in the region.”
In April, the Israeli prime minister said the regime had not made any decisions regarding the supply of lethal weapons to Kiev and continued to provide only what he called humanitarian aid.
“As for the reports about lethal weapons for Ukraine, I do not know what these reports are based on. We decided to help them in humanitarian matters, in civil defense matters with Tzeva Adom [Israeli missile attack warning system] … but not the previous” cabinet, nor my cabinet, “have made decisions about lethal weapons,” Netanyahu told reporters.
Washington will need Tel Aviv’s permission to send an Iron Dome system to a third country since Israel is considered the main producer of it, although the highly-publicized system has been co-developed by the American company Raytheon and Israeli firm Rafael.
Washington has also contributed nearly $2.6 billion since the project was launched in 2011.
The Iron Dome is claimed to be capable of detecting, assessing and intercepting a variety of shorter-range targets such as rockets, artillery and mortars.
The anti-missile project was originally developed to counter small rockets that Palestine’s Hamas resistance movement and other Palestinian resistance groups fired into the occupied territories in retaliation for Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.
Each battery consists of radar and command and control modules and three launchers, the latter armed with 20 Tamir interceptor missiles apiece.
Israel is equipped with about 12 Iron Dome systems in its arsenal, but the system has proven largely ineffective in serving its purpose, with one study of its use against Hamas rockets during the May 2021 Israeli war against Gaza revealing that the system had been partially overwhelmed by the Palestinian resistance group’s mass firing of rockets.