The U.S. military is using a version of Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system on American soil in the island territory of Guam amid tensions in the Pacific with China, according to a report.
The Wall Street Journal, citing multiple military sources, reported that due to the potential for Chinese aggression in the region, a decision was made by the Biden administration to bolster up security on Guam and to test a previously purchased Iron Dome system.
The system was purchased along with another system in 2019, which is currently somewhere else in the continental U.S.
Tom Karako, the director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the outlet the system being deployed overseas will work to test how well prepared the military is for some types of enemy engagements.
“If we can’t defend Guam — the air base and the other things there — it’s really hard to project power into the Pacific,” Karako told the Journal.
The system will be coupled with an existing system which is already in place on Guam.
There are no plans to conduct a live test of the system on the island. The island houses two military bases and sits remotely, about 1,800 miles from mainland China. Guam was invaded during the Second World War by the Japanese military.
“Forces on Guam will train through December on how to operate and integrate the dome with other defenses,” the Journal reported.
While the system can be effective against many types of projectiles, it cannot stop some projectiles, including hypersonic nuclear missiles, which have been tested at an alarming rate in recent years by the Chinese military.
But the Iron Dome can intercept ballistic missiles and rockets. The system proved its capabilities across Israel earlier this year amid barrages of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank from Hamas terrorists.
WATCH as the Iron Dome Aerial Defense System intercepts rockets over southern Israel: pic.twitter.com/xUz3bMuTzz
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 12, 2021
RAW FOOTAGE: This is the moment the Iron Dome intercepted a barrage of rockets over Tel Aviv and central Israel. pic.twitter.com/8jl8OTgWCl
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 11, 2021
Take a look at our Iron Dome in action.
Hamas fired a barrage of rockets into central & southern Israel tonight. With our Iron Dome Aerial Defense System operators in action, these systems help keep Israel’s skies safe. pic.twitter.com/eC79myd2JT
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 16, 2021
The BBC reported in May that of the estimated 3,000 rockets then fired into Israeli cities, roughly 90 percent of them were shot down by the missile defense system. The system was developed after 2006, when rocket attacks killed dozens and caused damage across the country.
The system first went online in 2011.
The Iron Dome relies on radar to detect a missile’s starting point and trajectory. It then sends up its own missile, which focuses on an impact point to stop the rocket or other projectile.
Earlier this week, the system knocked a drone out of the sky, which had been flown by Hamas from Gaza, and into the ocean, The Times of Israel reported.
Israeli Defense Forces said on Twitter that the Air Force had monitored the drone’s movements from the time it left the ground until it was intercepted.
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