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World’s largest plane delivers US Military trucks to be retrofitted in Israel

The world’s largest airplane landed in Israel Monday bringing a shipment of American military trucks.  The trucks will be integrated into Israel’s famous Iron Dome anti-missile system being sold to the U.S. military.

The huge Russian Antonov 225 Mriya jet attracted tens of thousands of viewers as it rumbled overhead during its approach to Ben Gurion airport outside Tel Aviv.  Its extremely heavy load was made up of military truck chassis manufactured by the Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corporation.

“These trucks will be used by the Iron Dome systems purchased by the U.S. Army in the framework of the agreement signed between the two countries,” the Ministry of Defense said.

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The systems will be used “to defend U.S. military troops against a wide range of ballistic and aerial threats,” the ministry added, without giving details on where the systems will be deployed.

The Oshkosh trucks will be fitted with the Iron Dome equipment that has proven itself as a highly-accurate defensive system for shooting down unguided rockets. First introduced in 2001, some 10 Iron Dome batteries are believed to be deployed around Israel where they have shot down an estimated 2,000 rockets fired by terrorists, mostly from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Last year the U.S. Defense Department signed a contract to purchase two complete Iron Dome Systems, meant as an interim missile defense solution for the U.S., but Defense News reported that Iron Dome could turn into a permanent solution depending on its performance in the field for the Americans.

Deliveries of the two systems for the U.S. Army are expected to commence in December 2020 and February 2021.

Known by its nickname Mriya (dream), the AN-225 is the largest aircraft ever produced and has over 30 wheels, six jet engines and a wingspan of 290 feet compared to the widest Boeing 747 jumbo jet whose wingspan is 211 feet.

Although the exact payload was not disclosed, the Mryia is big enough that it could theoretically carry eight of the Oshkosh Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) trucks.

–Metro Voice and wire services