After spending $373 million to buy two batteries of the Israeli-made Iron Dome missile defense system, the U.S. Army has announced that it is unable to integrate the batteries it purchased with its other air defense systems because Israel has refused to provide the Army with the source code. The Army asserted that without the source code, the system could not be integrated without causing grave cybersecurity vulnerabilities. As a result, the Army has now scrapped its plans to purchase an additional $600 million worth of Iron Dome components.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that the Iron Dome system itself was largely financed by U.S. taxpayers after Congress authorized over $1.5 billion in taxpayer funds to be used by Israel for the development and production of the Iron Dome system, which has suffered from a series of embarrassing failures since it entered the market.
It remains to be seen if the other countries that have signed deals with Israel to purchase Iron Dome, including Azerbaijan and India, will take notice of the U.S. Army’s decision and similarly scrap those plans given Israel’s apparent refusal to provide the source code to even its closest military ally following purchase.
News of the Army’s decision was made public last Thursday when Gen. Mike Murray, commander of Army Futures Command, spoke to the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee. “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,” Murray told the subcommittee.’