The Iron Dome system is considered to be one of the most effective short-range missile defense systems.
It was like a scene from a sci-fi movie set in space. Open skies. Night time. City lights were shining with full splendour. It was an ordinary night, like countless before. Until missiles started crisscrossing the night sky over the city. Regardless of the danger, certain brave people decided to watch from their balconies this rocket “show”, reminiscent of fireworks or some intergalactic conflict. The reason why they did this is called Iron Dome air defense system.
The development of that system began in 2005. In February 2007, the Iron Dome was chosen as Israel’s official short-range missile weapon. Since then, the Rafael Company, which had been developing the system, and the Israeli Defense Forces have been working together on it. According to official data, a total of $210 million have been spent so far.
The Iron Dome operates on the following principle – when the enemy army, specifically artillery, launches short-range missiles towards the target, a radar which detects and tracks missiles is activated at the foot of the Iron Dome. This system assesses and predicts the direction in which the projectile will move. Activation against the attack is triggered only if it is estimated that the rocket will fall on the populated area. If the intended destination is an empty space, the system does not respond. If the target is a populated area, rockets, so-called interceptors, are fired from the launch pad, in order to disable the enemy’s attack, and the target is destroyed in the air. Multiple targets can be demolished at the same time, and the system is operational both day and night. As many as 150 square kilometres are covered and protected by the Iron Dome. However, Israeli officials claim that the Iron Dome is 90 percent effective in shooting down medium-range missiles before they fall on populated areas. Israel has a total of 10 such defense systems, although it has two more systems in its defense strategy, which albeit are not intended to stop short-range missiles.
The fact that just one interceptor projectile costs upwards of $150,000 speaks volumes about the overall monetary value of this defense system. Its development and maintenance were helped by the United States with hundreds of millions of dollars, while the price of one Dome can go up to $70 million.
The Iron Dome system is considered to be one of the most effective short-range missile defense systems. According to the data provided by the manufacturer, it takes only one second from the firing of an enemy missile for the system to react and launch an interceptor projectile. The Israeli military said the system hit 84 percent of the projectiles fired during eight days of clashes in the Gaza Strip in November 2012.
The fact that just one interceptor projectile costs upwards of $150,000 speaks volumes about the overall monetary value of this defense system.
This system changed the lives of many Israelis in the past 11 years, when the first Dome was installed near the city of Bersheva which marked the operation of one of the best defense systems in the world.