May 26, 2022

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A United States Army general said Monday that the U.S. is looking to purchase the short-range missile interceptor used by Israel’s Iron Dome system, which would then be used for European air defense against Russia.

“With all that is happening in Europe, especially the fact that Russia has really awakened itself and has really decided to rebuild its military and is really posing a threat, we are looking at how we can do the multi-tiered defense,” Major General Glenn Bramhall of the U.S. Army’s Air and Missile Defense Command told Reuters at a conference hosted by the Israeli security organization iHLS.

Bramhall said the U.S. has test-launched the Israeli short-range interceptor missile called “Tamir,” with the expectation of complementing the army’s mid-range Patriot and THAAD interceptors within two to three years.

“We are looking at multiple solutions to actually create a third tier that is missing. Patriot and THAAD are great systems that do what they were designed to do. But I don’t think we would want to waste a Patriot or a THAAD missile on something that can be affected by something that’s lower-cost and is actually designed for that job itself,” said Bramhall.

The Iron Dome has had a 90-percent success rate on intercepting Palestinian-fired rockets. Each Tamir unit would cost $100,000 for the U.S., according to Iron Dome developer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. Bramhall said that price is “within an acceptable range.”

“It would be right for us at Rafael, and for every Israeli citizen, to support whatever the Americans decide on,” Yosi Druker, a vice president at Rafael, told Reuters.