The Army, working with the Israeli Missile Defense Organization, recently completed another step toward fielding the first of two Iron Dome defense system batteries, a key platform for protecting forces from cruise missiles, drones, rockets, artillery and mortars.

The shoot took place at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, the Army announced Monday in a release.

Army Times reported on Army efforts back in 2019 to reinstitute diluted air defense skills and update ground vehicle systems with ways to protect against air attacks in peer combat.

At the time, the Army had announced the purchase of two Iron Dome systems for experimentation.

The 3-43rd Air Defense Artillery Battalion, assigned to the 11th ADA Brigade at Fort Bliss, Texas, was the first unit to do new equipment training on the Iron Dome.

The air defenders “successfully engaged eight cruise missile surrogate targets as part of a coordinated performance test and live fire event,” according to the release.

Army plans call for fielding both of the Iron Dome systems as “interim cruse missile defense solution,” while they continue work on the Indirect Fires Protection Capability system.

Long-term work includes variants that would include directed energy, or laser, capabilities, for knocking down airborne threats, according to the release.

The inventory also includes updating big-ticket items like the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense or THAAD system, and improving radars and communications for THAAD and Patriot missiles to talk with each other, then-Lt. Gen. James Pasquarette said at the 2019 Association of the U.S. Army annual expo.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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