U.S. Abandons $600 Million Israeli Missile System Citing Cybersecurity Fears

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The U.S. has announced it will ditch purchasing an Israeli-produced missile system worth hundreds of millions of dollars, citing cybersecurity fears that it could potentially be compromised.

Reports have emerged that the US Army had already spent $373 million on the purchase of two batteries for the Iron Dome missiles last year, and had plans to spend a further $600 million on further components by 2023. The contract has reportedly been ripped up after Israel refused to hand over the source code for the missiles, causing cybersecurity analysts to question the integrity of that code, unsure of exactly what it contained.

InfoSecurity Magazine is reporting that “without access to the source code, the army cannot integrate the batteries with its other air defense systems. The army is concerned that failure to integrate the batteries could create serious cybersecurity vulnerabilities.”

“The two Iron Dome batteries purchased by the US army included 12 launchers, two sensors, two battlement management centers, and 240 interceptors,” writes Sarah Coble.

General Mike Murry, commander of the Army Futures Command told the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee that “it took us longer to acquire those [first] two batteries than we would have liked.”

“We believe we cannot integrate them into our air-defense systems based upon some interoperability challenges, some cyber [security] challenges and some other challenges. So, what we ended up having is two stand-alone batteries that will be very capable, but they cannot be integrated.”

It has been reported that while trying to integrate the Iron Dome system with its Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) last year, the army ran into a number of challenges, including cybersecurity problems that could have undermined their integrity.

General Murray added that it would be “exceptionally difficult to integrate Iron Dome into our layered air-defense architecture [and] to get Iron Dome to talk to other systems, other radars, specifically the Sentinel radar.”

“What you’re probably - almost certainly - going to see is two stand-alone systems. And if they best we can do is stand-alone systems, we do not want to buy another two batteries,” he said

For background, the Iron Dome system was first developed by Israel in April 2011, largely by money provided by the US Congress who agreed to provide Israel with $1.5 billion to develop the system. It was built by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and American arms manufacturer, Raytheon.

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