Here is an explainer on the Israeli air defence network ‘Iron Dome’ and how it intercepts the incoming threats.
Israel’s Iron Dome is an air defence system developed by the Israeli firms Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, with support from the United States.
The all-weather Iron Dome relies on a system of radar and analysis to determine whether an incoming rocket is a threat and takes the appropriate response to fire an interceptor to destroy the incoming rocket. The interceptor missiles intercept those rockets that are launched to target the civilian population inside Israel.
It is a three-central component consisting of interceptor batteries that shoot rockets out of the sky, a radar that tracks the rocket as it is fired across the border into Israel, and then advanced software that predicts the rocket’s trajectory.
The information picked by the system is then used to guide Tamir interceptor missiles, which are fired vertically either from mobile units or a static launch site to detonate the incoming rocket in the air, producing explosions in the sky.
How long has Israel been using it?
Iron Dome was first commissioned by the Israel Defence Forces in March 2011 and made its first successful intervention the subsequent month when it intercepted a Grad rocket fired from Gaza. Israel initiated its air-defence program after its war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah in 2006, when 4,000 rockets rained down on northern Israel, killing 44.
Every time Israel launches its Tamir missile to intercept rockets from Gaza, it incurs a cost of around $95,000 (Rs 70 lakhs). Due to the higher costs, Israel usually uses them only against rockets destined for residential areas, rather than those headed for open ground.
In fact, the cost of rebuilding infrastructure damaged by rockets is much cheaper than using the Iron Dome. However, with civilian lives in question, Israel has been continuously using the Iron Dome system to protect its population from rocket attacks. Reportedly, the US has partly-funded the system, pledging $429m (£303m) towards the programme.
Iron Dome – an effective air-defence system
The Iron Dome air defence system is considered one of the world’s most advanced, with a reported success rate of more than 90%.
According to experts, the commissioning of the Iron Dome has changed life for many Israelis during recent conflicts, as it now allows IDF to intercept rockets fired from Gaza with more certainty. Hence a sense of normality has returned in southern parts of the country, the region that receives a maximum number of rocket strikes. A decade later after its commissioning, the Iron Dome has thwarted thousands of rocket attacks launched by the Palestinian terrorists from Gaza.