The Army announced today it will activate two air defense artillery batteries at Ft. Bliss, TX, to test the Israeli-made Iron Dome system and evaluate its potential for integration into the service's air and missile defense architecture.
“These actions are part of the Army’s force realignment initiative, which involves the conversion of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery and realignment of resources from the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery School,” a Nov. 13 Army press release states. “The stationing will be completed by Nov. 16, 2020, and will result in an additional 26 personnel stationed at Ft. Bliss.”
The interim stationing decision supports critical test, evaluation and integration activities, according to the release.
Brig. Gen. Brian Gibson, director of the Air and Missile Defense Cross-Functional Team, told reporters in August the service will attempt to achieve operational capability by the end of September 2021 for the first battery and the end of December 2021 for the second battery.
“Upon receipt of the first battery, the Army will begin training and integration of Iron Dome into the Army’s Integrated Battle Command System,” the Nov. 13 Army press release states. “Once Iron Dome reaches an operational deployment capability, the Army will make a final stationing decision and/or the Dynamic Force Employment concept in response to contingency operations. The Army anticipates this decision to occur in parallel as the Iron Dome batteries achieve an operational deployment capability.”