The Pentagon is planning to help Israel purchase additional Iron Dome short-range anti-rocket batteries, Pentagon Missile Defense Agency head Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly has said.

“In our budget, we have a proposal to assist with the procurement of four more batteries,” he told the US Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee.

The fiscal 2011 funding of $203.8m is the first direct US investment to advance the production and deployment of the system.

Israel recently deployed two batteries outside the southern city of Beersheva, which have successfully intercepted eight rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

The Iron Dome batteries consist of a mobile air defence system with a radar-guided interceptor missile launched from a truck-sized firing platform.

The radar-guided interceptor missile is designed to destroy mid-air rockets and mortar bombs that have ranges of 5km to 70km, according to Reuters.

The US Government has requested $106.1m in the 2012 budget for US-Israeli joint missile defense programmes, including improvements to the Arrow ballistic missile shield and David’s Sling.