Posted: 10 Nov 2021 17:39 GMT
The tests are part of a broader effort by the Pentagon to bolster its presence on the island amid China’s growing influence in the region.
The United States has been testing the Israeli-made Iron Dome (Iron Dome) air defense system on the island of Guam amid the growing Chinese presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
The ongoing tests on the US island are expected to continue until next December, reports The Wall Street Journal, without specifying whether they are successful or not.
The Iron Dome system has been in service for a decade neutralizing improvised projectiles fired by militants of the Palestinian movement Hamas against Israeli territory.
Designed to intercept short range rockets, artillery shells and Drones, the air defense system apparently would not be of much use against the hypersonic warhead that China allegedly recently tested.
The deployment of this defense system in Guam is part of a broader effort by the Pentagon to strengthen its presence on the island amid tensions with China over Taiwan and the growing influence of the Asian giant in the Pacific.
Guam is an unincorporated US territory located about 2,900 kilometers from China. The island, which houses various bases of the U.S. Navy and Air Force, as well as a few 190,000 civil and military It would be a logical target for a first attack by China in the event of an armed conflict between Washington and Beijing.
The Iron Dome system, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, was commissioned in Israel in 2011. Its deployment was greatly expanded in subsequent years thanks to US funding. Following a heated debate in September, the U.S. Congress approved other $ 1 billion for the system after the new escalation of the conflict with Hamas in May, in which more than 4,000 projectiles were aimed at Israel.
In 2019, it became known that Washington bought two complexes to Israel, for which it disbursed $ 373 million. One was sent to Guam, and the other stayed in the continental US The Pentagon first tested Iron Dome at its White Sands shooting range in New Mexico, the last summer. The military successfully shot down several targets, including drones, according to the Israeli Defense Ministry.
On the other hand, the deployment of the Israeli system in Guam was officially announced last October. The US Army described it as a measure “provisional and experimental“and said that no live fire drills were planned.