The Obama administration said on Thursday it will ask Congress to provide $205 million to Israel to spur production of a new short-range rocket interceptor system.
Produced by Israeli state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd., Iron Dome uses small radar-guided missiles to blow up Katyusha-style rockets with ranges of between 5 kilometers (3 miles) and 70 kilometer (45 miles), as well as mortar bombs, in mid-air.
Its development was spurred by the 2006 conflict in Lebanon with Hezbollah and the Gaza Strip war against Hamas a year ago. In both cases, Israeli towns within reach of short-range rockets were in some respects defenseless.
Two Iron Dome batteries are under construction, an Israeli defense official said in February. Designed to be towed by vehicle, they will be available for any Israeli front at a few hours’ notice.
“The president recognizes the threat missiles and rockets fired by Hamas and Hezbollah pose to Israelis, and has therefore decided to seek funding from Congress to support the production of Israel’s short range rocket defense system called Iron Dome,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
(Reporting by Adam Entous and Caren Bohan; Editing by Xavier Briand)