US Reportedly Set Up Iron Dome in Guam Hoping It Could Help Defend Against Chinese Cruise Missiles

© Photo : YouTube / RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.Rafael delivers second Iron Dome battery to the U.S
Rafael delivers second Iron Dome battery to the U.S - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.11.2021
Israel delivered two batteries of the missile defence system to the United States in late 2020 and early 2021. Since becoming operational in 2011, the Iron Dome has reportedly proven successful against primitive rockets and drones used by Lebanese and Palestinian militias, but has never been tested against state actors.
The US military has deployed one of its two Israel-made Iron Dome missile systems to the Western Pacific island of Guam to get an idea of how it might perform against Chinese missile threats, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing defence observers familiar with the situation.
While it is not capable of intercepting fast-moving ballistic missiles launched from China proper, or the country’s new maneuverable and hypersonic long-range fires, the business newspaper says the Israeli system serve as an “interim solution” to the threat posed by slower cruise missiles like the CJ-20, fired by Chinese H-6K bombers and flying below the speed of sound.
© AP Photo / XinhuaIn this undated photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea.
In this undated photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.11.2021
In this undated photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea.
Guam media reported last month that the Iron Dome had been deployed with 94th Army Air and Missile Defence Command and the 38th Air Defence Artillery Brigade, shoring up the island’s existing air defences, including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system, which was delivered to the island in 2013 following a North Korean missile test.
Guam is America’s largest military outpost in the western Pacific. The island’s airbase facilities host B-2 bombers and fifth-generation F-22 and F-35 jets. Guam also contains a major port, capable of taking in everything from subs to aircraft carriers. Last month, the ill-fated USS Connecticut submarine, which hit an undersea mountain while on patrol in the South China Sea, limped back to Guam for repairs.
Tom Karako of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank told WSJ that the island is critical to the Pentagon’s Pacific strategy. “If we can’t defend Guam – the air base and other things there – it’s really hard to project power into the Pacific,” he stressed.
An Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome missile system in the city of Ashdod in response to a rocket launch from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip on March 11, 2012 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.09.2021
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Operation Iron Island

The 94th Air Army is calling the Iron Dome deployment “temporary” and “experimental,” with the placement, expected to run through mid-December, formally dubbed ‘Operation Iron Island.’
A military spokesperson indicated that the deployment will include “gathering data on sustainment, deployment considerations, and how we integrate Iron Dome with our existing air defence systems,” but no actual live fire drills are planned.
The Army tested the Iron Dome in New Mexico this past August, destroying eight simulated enemy cruise missile targets.
Each Iron Dome contains 20 Tamir missiles – with the interceptors containing active radar seekers, a two-way datalink, and a blast fragmentation warhead triggered by a laser proximity fuse.

US Made to Pay for System It Helped Develop

The US purchased two Iron Dome batteries for $373 million from Israel in 2019 as a stopgap solution until the Army could create its own solution for dealing with missile, rocket, drone and mortar fire, possibly by 2023. The Pentagon does not plan to buy any more Iron Dome.
US taxpayers assisted in funding the development of the Israeli-made air defence system, committing $1.6 billion to the project since 2011, as part of the $146 billion in non-inflation-adjusted dollars in military aid Washington has given Israel since 1948.
The Iron Dome is made by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems. The company boasts a 90 percent success rate of 2,000+ interceptions over the past decade, stopping everything from small make-shift rockets and drones to BM-21 Grad rockets in northern and southern Israel against Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinian militant movement Hamas in Gaza.
Critics have pointed to the system’s expense (including the $20,000-$50,000 price tag of a single Tamir interceptor), and its potential to be overwhelmed if too many enemy projectiles are fired at once –something recently demonstrated during May’s Israel-Gaza war. Rafael’s estimates on interception rates have also been scrutinized, with a study of the 2012 ‘Operation Pillar of Defence’ operation discovering that less than a third of the projectiles fired by Gaza militants had been successfully intercepted by the system.
The Iron Dome is one a number of air and missile defence systems in Israel’s arsenal, with others including the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system, the Barak 8, and David’s Sling, an anti-rocket and cruise missile system. In addition to its stationary versions, the Iron Dome includes a mobile wheeled modification and a ship-based type for use aboard the Israeli Navy’s German-manufactured Sa’ar 6-class corvettes.
Masked Palestinian Hamas militants display their weapons during a parade in Gaza City. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.05.2021
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