The Israeli request was submitted in order to rush system production and refill the inventory, given the massive amount of interceptors fired by the Iron Dome – which has achieved high rates of successful hits on rockets launched from Gaza.
Gaza militants have fired more than 1,900 rockets during the 18 days of Operation Protective Edge; more than 400 were intercepted by the Iron Dome system. The number of interceptor missiles launched is greater, as in many instances two Iron Dome missiles are launched to intercept one rocket.
Israel submitted the request in recent days, leading US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to ask Congress for the funds. Members of Congress have already announced their support for the additional grant – above the $351 million already allocated to the Iron Dome in the Pentagon's FY 2015 budget.
The funds have been approved by the House of Representatives and passed a Senate committee vote. The full Senate is expected to approve the measure soon.
Overall, US funding for Israeli missile defense programs in 2015 was set to reach $621.6 million for the Iron Dome, David's Sling, and the Arrow systems. The new Pentagon request is in addition to the already-approved funding, raising the total amount of aid for Israeli missile defense close to $865 million.
The funding for the aerial defenses is not included in the annual military aid package given to Israel – the $3.1 billion provided by the US State Department. The ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Armed Forces, Congressman Adam Smith, promised his full support for the additional funding.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) noted that the chamber will fully support funding for the Iron Dome system, including the $225 for “to accelerate production” of additional batteries.