America has abandoned plans to introduce an Israeli-made missile system over fears that it may not be cyber-secure.
The US Army spent $373m on the purchase of two batteries of Iron Dome missiles last year. Plans to spend a further $600m on two new batteries and Iron Dome components by 2023 have now been scrapped after Israel reportedly refused to hand over the system’s source code.
Without access to the source code, the army cannot integrate the batteries with its other air defense systems. The army is concerned that failure to integrate the batteries could create serious cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
Speaking to the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee on March 5, Gen. Mike Murray, commander of Army Futures Command, said: “It took us longer to acquire those [first] two batteries than we would have liked.
“We believe we cannot integrate them into our air-defense system based upon some interoperability challenges, some cyber[security] challenges and some other challenges. So, what we ended up having is two stand-alone batteries that will be very capable, but they cannot be integrated.”
Attempts to integrate the Iron Dome system with the US Army’s Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) last year caused several challenges, including cyber-security problems.
Murray said it would be “exceptionally difficult to integrate Iron Dome into our layered air-defense architecture [and] to get Iron Dome to talk to other systems [and] other radars, specifically the Sentinel radar.”
“What you’re probably—almost certainly—going to see is two stand-alone systems. And if the best we can do is stand-alone systems, we do not want to buy another two batteries.”
The two Iron Dome batteries purchased by the US Army included 12 launchers, two sensors, two battlement management centers, and 240 interceptors.
Iron Dome was first deployed by Israel outside Beersheba in April 2011. The system was built by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Raytheon, which manufactures the American-made Patriot missile system.
Ironically, Iron Dome was largely financed by American taxpayers when Congress agreed in 2012 to give Israel $1.5bn to develop and produce the system.
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