The U.S. Department of Defense has decided not to buy any more Iron Dome missile defense systems from Israel after integration issues involving two Iron Dome batteries it bought in 2019.
“We believe we cannot integrate them into our air defense system based on some inter-operability challenges, some cyber challenges and some other challenges,” reported Gen. Mike Murray, head of Army Futures Command, to the House Armed Service tactical air and land forces subcommittee on Thursday.
According to multiple media outlets, the reason behind the decision is that Israel has refused to hand over the source code for the technology.
Without the source code, the technology only partly helps the military achieve its military goal of properly defending against short-range ballistic missiles.
“So what we’ve ended up having was two standalone batteries that will be very capable but they cannot be integrated into our air defense system,” Murray told the subcommittee.
According to Murray, the U.S. Department of Defense will have to find alternative ways to address its security needs.
“So, we’re working on a path right now… on a way forward,” said Murray. “We anticipate a shoot-off open to U.S. industry, foreign industry, to go after whatever is the best solution to provide that capability.”
Last year, Congress authorized the purchase of two Iron Dome batteries with the possibility of buying more until 2023. The project would have cost an estimated $1.5 billion.
Developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the Iron Dome has played a crucial role in defending Israel against terrorist rockets launched from Gaza. Since its deployment in 2011, it has had a success rate of over 90 percent.