Army Futures Command (AFC) head General Mike Murray has told lawmakers that the two recently purchased Iron Dome batteries from Rafael have posed interoperability challenges for the service and that it will look at other solutions.
Gen Murray's comment came during a 5 March House Armed Services subcommittee hearing, where he was asked about the army's plans to test its two Iron Dome batteries and its parts for potential integration into the service air defence system.
"We believe we cannot integrate them into our air defence system based upon some interoperability challenges and cyber challenges and some other challenges," Gen Murray responded. "So, what we ended up having really is two standalone batteries that will be very capable but they cannot be integrated into our air defence system."
Instead, the army is planning to host a "shoot off" for potential US and foreign vendors to help determine the "the best solution to provide that capability", he added.
Just a day earlier, however, Jane's separately asked Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and the army's assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics, and technology (ALT) Bruce Jette about this issue and the duo said the service was still looking at the interoperability issue but pointed to the cruise missile threat as the potential sticking point.
McCarthy explained that the service still wanted data from Rafael to help determine if the service would need to "re-engineer certain weapons systems" and if Iron Dome can "actually prosecute cruise missiles".
"If you look at the IFPC [Indirect Fire Protection Capability] requirement, we've got to be able to fight the cruise missile fight," he said. "Iron Dome brings more capability than we have in our missile defence envelope today but it doesn't meet the full requirements."
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