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  • Writer's pictureIsrael Gulf Report

Report: US could deploy Iron Dome batteries to Gulf

A Haaretz report said on Sunday that "The United States is expected to soon begin deploying Iron Dome missile interceptor batteries, one of the jewels of Israel's arms manufacturing industry, in its bases in the Gulf States, according to security officials."

According to the article officials won't say which countries the system could be deployed in. Iron Dome was developed by Israel and has an impressive success rate against rockets, mortars and other shorter range threats. Israel has delivered two batteries to the US army. Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems partners with Raytheon in the US on Skyhunter, the US version of the system. According to Defense News in August 2020 Rafael and Raytheon partnered to build the system in the US. "Under the name Raytheon Rafael Area Protection Systems, the partnership is being set up to build a first-ever Iron Dome “all-up-round” facility stateside. The facility will build Iron Dome systems, the Tamir interceptor and launcher, and the SkyHunter missile (the U.S. version of Tamir), according to a Rafael-issued statement." The US has been searching for various new air defense capabilities, what are often called SHORAD or M-SHORAD. The US has also faced missile threats in Iraq and Gulf states and US bases there need defenses against drone and missile threats. Iran used drones to attack Saudi Arabia in September 2019 and a drone attack was alleged to have taken place over Riyadh on January 23, 2021, when an interception was heard. Patriot batteries have often provided protection in these areas in the past. Patriot systems can confront drone threats.

The Haaretz article notes that Israel had supplied the US with the Iron Dome batteries in relation to the August 2019 deal and that the agreement was. linked through Israel's Missile Defense Organization and the Defense Ministry.

Now the Haaretz report notes that "Israeli defense sources say the United States has received the approval of senior Israeli officials to begin deploying the missile defense systems on American military bases in a number of countries," which could include the Middle East.

But Israel doesn't reveal which countries. Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz has praised the system and said it would help the US against ballistic and aerial threats. "Behind closed doors, Israel gave its tacit agreement to the Americans to place the batteries in order to defend its forces from attacks by Iran and its proxies," the report says. In 2018 reports said Saudi Arabia had expressed interest in the system.

Israeli companies are expected to attend IDEX in Abu Dhabi for the first time in February. These include IAI, IMCO and others.

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