US wants details on Israel's 'Iron Dome' anti-missile system

The U.S. military has furnished millions of dollars to Israel to build and deploy an anti-missile artillery system known as Iron Dome, but oddly enough the United States knows little about how the system works even though it is in desperate need of just such a system to defend forward deployed troops on military bases or outposts exposed to rocket attack, reports Wired's Danger Room blog.

Israel developed Iron Dome, which the country says has an 80 percent success rate, completely on its own, the story said. For whatever reason, the United States doesn't know the specifics of Iron Dome, as it does with U.S.-Israeli anti-missile partnerships.

Congress wants to know how it works and why it works so well, so it can judge whether to fund a similar system for the United States, the story said. The House Armed Services Committee recently asked the Missile Defense Agency to explore “any opportunity to enter into co-production of the Iron Dome system with Israel, in light of the significant U.S. investment in this system.”

The United States currently uses the Phalanx Gatling gun, adapted for base protection from its use on Navy ships as an anti-missile weapons system, to protect ground troops on U.S. bases in southwestern Asia, the story said. The Phalanx, which works best against mortar rounds that have a high trajectory, isn't quite up to the task against rockets with a straight trajectory that take from 5 to 40 seconds to reach their target, depending on the type of rocket.

The tentative plan, for now, is to withold the next $680 million in funding for Iron Dome to Israel until the United States learns how Iron Dome works and why it is so effective, the story said.


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