Israel has completed testing an improved version of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which can intercept medium-range missiles held by Hezbollah and Syria that could reach the center of the country, the Defense Ministry announced on Sunday.
The army said it had carried out the tests with a new, fifth battery of the Iron Dome system, which will be added to the four already deployed in Israel’s south to intercept rockets fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
“This is another illustrious achievement on the part of all those involved in the upgrading of Iron Dome’s capabilities,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said. “The defense establishment has been investing massive sums in [Israel's] multi-layered missile defense array, which, within the next few years, is projected to cover all of Israel’s territory.
“The success of today’s tests marks a significant step toward completing a multi-layered defense system, and we’ll require a further allocation of funds to that end.”
Last week, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, toured an Iron Dome battery and praised the technological achievement of the anti-missile system, calling it “a great success.”
“It is a great honor to be here, at an Iron Dome battery that is protecting Israel, and to know that we are partners to a very successful initiative ” Dempsey said at the site, located in southern Israel. “We are definitely proud of that.”
In April, an Israeli official told Reuters that an increase in the range of the Iron Dome, which receives a large part of its funding from the US, to 150 kilometers, would reduce the number of interceptors Israel would need to deploy to defend the country from rocket attacks.