US Tests Iron Dome in Guam

The United States military has sent one of its two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries to the country and conducted tests.

The Israeli-developed device is presently being tested in Guam as part of the United States’ effort to safeguard the territory against Chinese missiles.

Iron Dome would be useless against Chinese ballistic missiles, but the present test “points to a wide variety of US gear headed to the Asia-Pacific area as the Pentagon handles a Chinese buildup that it has dubbed its No. 1 threat.”

The system could be used to counter cruise missiles launched from Chinese bombers and experts say that it was “very much an interim solution.” 

The Iron Dome system, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace, is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery rounds and has been in operation by the Israel Defense Forces since 2011.

The US announced in February 2019 that it will acquire a limited number of Iron Dome batteries to “be examined and explored as a system that is already available to defend deployed US military service personnel against a wide variety of indirect fire threats and aerial threats.”

The United States successfully performed its first domestic live-fire test of Iron Dome in August of this year at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, but the army later opted to go with a system designed by Dynetics, an Alabama military contractor, rather than the Israeli system.

Satellite photographs released on Sunday by Colorado-based Maxar Technologies revealed that China’s military has constructed prototypes in the shape of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and other American warships, potentially as training targets in China’s Xinjiang region’s Taklamakan Desert. 

The mockups represent China’s efforts to strengthen its capabilities against aircraft carriers, particularly those of the United States. Navy, as tensions with Washington over Taiwan and the South China Sea remain strong.

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