- Israel sends the US a missile defense system.
- The US could use an upgrade with defense in the Middle East.
- This system is needed in the region as things intensify between the US and Iran.
In early January, the United States Army received a second Iron Dome Missile Defense Battery from Israel. The deal has been several years in the making and is a significant step in the cooperation of the US and Israeli defense. The Iron Dome was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, producing with Raytheon in the United States.
When the second Iron Dome was delivered, Benny Gantz, Israel’s Defense Minister, said he is confident “the system will assist the US Army in protecting American troops from ballistic and airborne threats, as well as from developing threats in the areas where US troops are deployed on various missions.” The deal was completed with the Israel Missile Defense Organization through the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development.
Last Sunday, a Haaretz’ report said the US has been allowed to deploy Iron Dome systems in the Persian Gulf. With the United States having bases festooned in the Gulf, this was always a possibility for the missile defense system. Still, it has been a very sensitive issue.
Because of the Abraham Accords, Israel now has a peace deal with both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. In February, it’s expected that Israeli defense companies will take part at IDEX for the first time. IDEX is a major defense confab in Abu Dhabi. The only issues that could create a holdup for the Israeli companies are agreements by Israel’s Defense Ministry and export licensing. The Israeli Missile Defense Organization will definitely have to be involved.
Does Using Iron Dome Make Sense for the US?
For the time being, nothing is looking to prevent the United States from using the two Iron Dome missile defense batteries in the Persian Gulf. Questions still need to be answered regarding whether the batteries are efficient enough to defend the US installations in the region, which are known to be sensitive.
Other defense systems are already being used by the US, such as the Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System, C-RAM, Patriots, and microwave weapons that are currently being developed. One of these, in particular, is THOR. In May of 2020, the US tested a laser weapon on a ship. The laser is supposed to be able to destroy both missiles and drones.
For the US mission at hand, the experimental and existing air defense is not exactly “well suited.” They are not enough protection against Iranian missile and asymmetric drone threats. In September of 2019, Iran displayed just how serious the danger was with the launching of 25 drones and cruise missiles on a strike in Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia. The drones are believed to have flown over Iraq or Kuwait, getting around the radar and defenses in Abqaiq.
Drones have been sent from Iran to Yemen that was used in attacks, and Yemen’s Houthis have developed systems of their own to make the threat even more severe. Militias in Iraq have also threatened Saudi Arabia with the use of drones.
Iranian threats are concerning for the United States because they can be used to blackmail America. Iran wants a new nuclear deal with the Biden Administration. They aren’t afraid of using threats to make it happen. Ships have been mined in the Gulf of Oman by Iran. Long-range ballistic missiles have recently been fired, falling within 100 miles of a United States carrier.
How the System will Benefit the Region
An Iron Dome in the Persian Gulf could be a game-changer for the surrounding region. It could be used to neutralize threats from Iran and other militias. This will prevent them from blackmailing countries with these types of drones and missiles the Israeli radar system can intercept.
A quick example, drones were used by the Houthis in 2019 attacking an installation just outside the UAE. Reports were made in 2018 that the Houthis could go as far as even reaching the UAE. Over ten years, Iron Dome has proved a successful system in handling a variety of threats. Israel’s integrated the system into a multilayered defense system, working with David’s Sling and Arrow and other Israeli radar systems.
Iron Dome will need to be integrated by the United States into their own existing architecture. It will be a great fit for Patriot batteries operating similar to the system of David’s Sling.
Jeffrey Stevens is a published author and is currently earning his second degree in theology from Aidan University. His writings are focused on the Christian faith, mixed with some sports writing from time to time. When it comes to his faith, he had articles published on websites such as Catholic 365, Big Pulpit, Catholic Stand, and Joshua’s Outpost.
As a sportswriter, his articles have been featured on ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Bleacher Report. Jeffrey can be heard hosting the Gospel Grammar show, available on Google Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, and RadioPublic.