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US sends world’s largest plane to Israel to pick up Iron Dome missile systems

This picture taken on August 3, 2020 shows a view of the Soviet-built Soviet-built Antonov Airlines Antonov An-225 Mriya strategic airlift cargo aircraft, the world's largest cargo plane, upon landing at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, east of Tel Aviv. [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]
This picture taken on August 3, 2020 shows a view of the Soviet-built Soviet-built Antonov Airlines Antonov An-225 Mriya strategic airlift cargo aircraft, the world's largest cargo plane, upon landing at Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod, east of Tel Aviv. [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

The world’s largest plane landed in Tel Aviv airport yesterday, carrying a cargo of US military trucks to be loaded with an Israeli air defence system.

The massive Antonov An-225 carrying ‘OshKosh’ trucks were fitted with Iron Dome missile defence system batteries before leaving Israel.

The Unit for International Transport of the Directorate of Production and Procurement in the Israeli Ministry of Defence was involved in bringing the Antonov plane to Israel, the ministry announced.

The plane has previously landed in Israel in 2008.

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The giant strategic airlift cargo plane – powered by six turbofan engines – boasts a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes and was originally designed to carry the Russian space shuttle by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s.

Last year, the US Army purchased two batteries from Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, which included 12 launchers, two sensors, two battlement management centres and 240 interceptors, at a cost of $1.5 billion.

The fully mobile system carries ten kilogrammes of explosives and can intercept an incoming projectile from four to 70 kilometres away.

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