A rocket attack on an Iraqi base northwest of Kirkuk killed one U.S. contractor and wounded four U.S. troops on December 27, leading to U.S. retaliatory airstrikes against an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq and Syria. More than a dozen rocket attacks have been carried out against bases where U.S. forces are present in Iraq. These have increased in the past months, but there were also harassing attacks in May and June.
The U.S. military has been looking for an interim missile defense capability. This includes the desire to acquire an Interim Maneuver Short Range Air Defense System (IM-SHORAD) that can counter rockets, drones and other threats. The army has looked at several solutions at White Sands Missile Range, including Israel’s Iron Dome. Congress has prodded the military to act. In January, the United States chose to procure several Iron Dome systems from Rafael. The deal was announced in August. But the army indicated it didn’t want more of the systems, seeking to go in a more maneuverable direction.