One of the two Iron Dome batteries possessed by the United States is ready for deployment to Ukraine should such a request be received, a top American general told U.S. senators last week.
At a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces meeting hearing testimony on missile defense activities, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) asked why the Iron Dome air-defense system was not being used in Ukraine considering that the United States provided financial assistance to Israel to develop it.
“We helped pay for it. We sent something like $3 billion to Israel to develop it,” said King. “Wouldn’t this be a very important resource for the Ukrainians since their principal problem right now is missile defense?”
Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler, head of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, pointed out that the United States has two Iron Dome batteries, with one currently available.
“The army does have one [Iron Dome battery] available for deployment if we get a request,” said Karbler.
The Iron Dome was developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, with the United States providing financial assistance for the project to the tune of $2.6 billion over the years.
Israel would need to give permission for Washington to supply Ukraine with its Iron Dome technology.
Iron Dome has been instrumental in protecting Israeli civilians against terrorists’ rockets from over the border. In the recent conflict with Palestinian Islamic Jihad in which nearly 1,500 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, Iron Dome intercepted 95% of rockets on their way to populated areas, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Update: After this story was published, Cecil Longino, deputy director of public affairs for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, told JNS, “I can easily see how writers have come to the conclusion that LTG Karbler was stating Iron Dome was available for shipment to the Ukraine, based off the testimony transcript. But that’s not what LTG Karbler meant.
“He was speaking as an operational commander and referencing the availability of the Iron Dome system for U.S. military combatant commands, if requested, not Ukraine,” said Longino.