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Israel’s MAFAT head on US Iron Dome fears: We trust our American friends

CM 29/09/2021

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The head of the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (MAFAT) was not at all concerned that Washington might not replenish the IDF’s Iron Dome missile-defense system.
“We got the funding in two days – one day after what happened,” said Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Danny Gold. “For me, the result is important, and we trust our American friends who authorized the $1 billion.”
The full story will appear in Friday’s Magazine.

Gold said he was not concerned about the possibility that the funding wouldn’t be approved to replenish the interceptors for the Iron Dome.
“I didn’t even think about it,” he said. “We trust our American friends, and we trust Israel, which also put money into the project. It’s good to have partners like the US who have both restoration and production capabilities. We also have the capabilities in Israel, but it’s an issue of funding.”

THE IRON Dome anti-missile system intercepts a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, as seen from Ashkelon last month. (credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)THE IRON Dome anti-missile system intercepts a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, as seen from Ashkelon last month. (credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

Earlier in the week, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass legislation to provide Israel with $1b. for the missile-defense system. Progressive Democrats had removed it from a government spending bill because of their position that military aid given to Israel should be conditions-based.
The Iron Dome system is built by US defense contractor Raytheon Technologies and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and was developed with US financial help. According to a Congressional Research Service report released last year, the US has already provided more than $1.6b. for Israel to develop and build the system.
Since it went into service in 2011, the system has successfully intercepted more than 2,500 rockets and other projectiles fired into Israel.
Gold has for years worked on Israel’s missile-defense systems. In 2012, he was awarded the Israel Defense Prize for his initiation and management of the Iron Dome.
The US has consistently funded the Iron Dome to help Israel defend itself against rocket attacks by terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip, Syria and Lebanon. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired almost 4,500 rockets and mortars at Israel during Operation Guardian of the Walls, the 11-day conflict in May.
Following the fighting, Israel requested $1b. in US aid to replenish its missile stocks. US President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other administration officials agreed to the request.
Israel’s comprehensive protective umbrella that counters the growing missile threats includes the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets; the Arrow (Arrow-2 and Arrow-3) system, which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere; and the David’s Sling missile-defense system, which is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles fired at ranges of 40 km.-300 km.
According to Gold, all of these systems are crucial in handling the growing threat posed by enemy rocket salvos and Iranian missiles.
Israel is continuously improving the technology behind its missile-defense systems. The next generation of the Iron Dome, which is an integral component of Israel’s multilayered defense array, is currently being updated, Gold told The Jerusalem Post.
“There’s no system that has been updated like the Iron Dome,” he said, adding that there have been more than nine significant updates since it was first deployed.
The IDF has admitted that Iran’s conventional missile threat is a major worry for Israel, which, despite its multilayered air defenses, may not be able to contend with intensive missile barrages fired by Iran and its proxy groups, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Shi’ite militias in Iraq.
ALONG WITH updates to the Iron Dome and all the other defense systems, MAFAT also has been working on developing a laser system that would be able to take down incoming rockets or missiles launched toward Israel.
The Defense Ministry has already successfully carried out a series of interceptions using a powerful airborne laser system installed on a civilian plane, downing several drones.
During the June trials, the high-powered laser system that had been installed on a civilian Cessna aircraft destroyed several unmanned aerial vehicles at different ranges and altitudes. According to the Defense Ministry, Israel is among the first countries in the world to succeed in integrating laser technology onto an airplane and intercept targets in an operational scenario.
The trials were the first phase in a multiyear pilot program of MAFAT and Elbit Systems to develop an aerial laser system to deal with a number of threats facing Israel, including long-range rocket fire.
The method of airborne interception using a powerful laser has many advantages, including low cost per interception, the ability to effectively intercept long-range threats at high altitudes regardless of weather conditions and the ability to defend vast areas.
“From the moment a laser is on the target, it takes a few seconds before they are downed,” Gold said, adding that such a system would be used alongside the Iron Dome.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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