The world’s largest plane, the Antonov An 225, arrived at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport on Monday evening carrying U.S. military trucks to be equipped with Iron Dome air defense systems.

According to Israel’s Defense Ministry, “The Iron Dome system will be used to defend U.S. military troops against a wide range of ballistic and aerial threats.”

Two Iron Dome batteries were purchased for the U.S. Army last year as an interim solution for cruise missile defense, under the aegis of its Indirect Fire Protection Capability program. The purchase was congressionally mandated.

At the time of the purchase, the U.S. Army said: “The Iron Dome will be assessed and experimented [with] as a system that is currently available to protect deployed U.S. military service members against a wide variety of indirect fire threats and aerial threats.”

This was an unprecedented decision at the time, marking the first time the United States had ever purchased a complete weapons system from Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the US decision as a “great achievement for Israel” and “further proof of our solid bond with the U.S., as well of Israel’s rising status in the world.”

The U.S. Army plans to hold a shoot-off in 2021 to evaluate which system is the strongest candidate for integration into its permanent IFPC system.

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