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US Deploys Iron Dome Defense System on Guam to Counter China

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The Israeli-made Iron Dome missile interception system has been deployed on the Pacific Ocean Island of Guam, A U.S. territory. On October 19, the equipment landed on the island for the first time. Operation Iron Island is the name given to the deployment.

The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command (94th AAMDC) of the United States Army are responsible to deploy a set of Iron Dome air defense systems to Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base. The system will be operated by the 2nd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment.

Earlier, soldiers from U.S. Army’s Air Defense Artillery along with the Israeli Missile Defense Organisation engaged eight cruise missile targets successfully with the Iron Dome air defense system.

The Iron Dome was created by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd in Israel in collaboration with Raytheon Technologies Corp and is capable of destroying short-range rockets and artillery from a distance of up to 40 miles. In 2019, the US Congress approved a $373 million acquisition of two Iron Dome systems.

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The deployment signals Biden Administration’s intentions to bolster US capabilities to counter Chinese military and economic expansion in the Indo-Pacific.

The US Indo-Pacific Command unveiled a $27.3 billion strategic plan for additional missiles, air defenses, radar systems, staging locations, intelligence-sharing centers, supply depots, and testing ranges around the region in March of this year.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Island of Guam hosts about 190,000 American civilians and military personnel. The Island lies about 1800 miles from the shores of China, thus, making it the nearest U.S military check post to keep an eye on China’s activities in the region.

The Island holds the US Anderson Air force base and its naval facility as well. It is also known as the “tip of the spear” of US defense as it plays a significant role in defining US military strategy towards the South China Sea, Taiwan, and Korean Peninsula.

 

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Syed Ali Abbas
Syed Ali Abbas is a Research Assistant at the Center for International Strategic Studies Islamabad and President of Global Defense Insight. He tweets @smalinaqvi05.

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