It is a ground-to-air, short-range, defense system that neutralizes rockets and missiles. The concept was born after the Israel — Lebanon war when Israel faced thousands of rockets fired. The manufacturer of it is the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). It just took 3 years and 200 million dollars to develop this defense system.
It relies on the radar that instantly detects when a missile has been fired which was first tested in April 2011. The system is powered by missile defense batteries each containing 3 main components. These batteries can defend across or intercept missiles (short-range) and rockets coming in from Gaza from between 4 to 70 kilometers. The Algorithms of it quickly try to determine what type of projectile is in the air, the speed of it and relays it to the battery’s control center. The computers in the control center calculate whether its heading for a populated or a strategic area. If so, the iron dome launches a missile from its launcher attempting to neutralize the threat. Each launcher contains 20 interceptor missiles and most importantly each launcher deploys independently and operated via a secure wireless connection. The missile destroys the incoming rocket by exploding near it. The goal is to do this explosion far away from populated areas, minimizing the damage on the ground. The explosion that creates in the sky due to this is known to be a common sight across Israel.
It is said that the iron dome has taken down more than 1000 missiles since it turned on in 2011. Israel has strategically placed these systems across the country to take down many missiles as possible with a 90% success rate. Some people question the accuracy of this figures and experts suggest it has only 80% accuracy. According to experts this system has a saturation point but is unknown. Gaza has fired many missiles to test this saturation point and to overwhelm the iron dome.
This network of launchers is highly mobile and constantly on the move. Another important fact is that it can perform in any weather condition. Hamas fired more than a thousand rockets but very few get through because of this Israel’s defense system.
The unit cost per battery is calculated as 50 million dollars and a missile costs around 40,000 dollars. The United States has provided hundreds of millions of dollars and funding for the system. Israel has expanded the defense system by installing missile batteries on ships and the system is in the midst of being upgraded to combat the threat posed by unmanned drones.
By Dilumi Vidanage (Level 02 Undergraduate),