Components of Iron Dome batteries that Israel supplied to the US will participate in an exercise that will take place at the end of the year at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The US military is already operating two batteries at Fort Bliss in Texas, and discussions are currently underway at high levels regarding where, when and how to deploy the batteries.
General Brian Gibson, who is responsible for modernization processes in the US military, told Defense News that Congress has directed the military to come up with a plan to deploy two Iron Dome batteries that were procured as an interim solution to fill a cruise missile defense gap. General Gibson said that the plan is at the stage of being developed and finalized at the headquarters of the Department of the Army.
The final plan will be based on the following factors: the type of threats that the Iron Dome batteries will deal with in the place of deployment; financial costs; transportation issues; and timetables. If directed to do so, "we’re on a timeline and on a path to make it absolutely feasible to deploy this thing," the general said. "Our intent is not to park them in a parking garage." The military procured two Iron Dome batteries made by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in cooperation with Raytheon, and there is no intention to procure additional ones, but rather to incorporate Iron Dome into the military's air and missile defense network designed to destroy enemy cruise missiles, remotely-piloted aircraft, rockets, artillery and mortars.
The Iron Dome batteries at Fort Bliss will be used for training and instruction of teams of operators until they reach the stage of operational deployment. Thus, the plan for incorporation of the Israeli system into the future US air defense network, a giant network being developed by Northrop Grumman that will undergo initial operational testing at the end of the year, will also be evaluated.