Israel’s anti-missile system, the Iron Dome (Iron Dome) has gained prominence in the media in recent days after intercepting missiles during the latest outbreak of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
According to Israeli Defense Forces spokesman Jonathan Conricus, the protection shield was able to detect, track and destroy 90% of the more than 1,600 rockets fired in the Gaza Strip before they hit the main target.
The Iron Dome is capable of detecting missiles launched within a radius of up to 70 kilometers. The answer comes through another rocket fired by the protection system, with a time that varies from 15 to 90 seconds, depending on the speed and distance of the threat.
The entire system consists of three essential elements to ensure the effectiveness of the protective shield. A radar to detect and track, a gun control center, and a missile-firing unit, ready to act at the slightest warning signal.
When a rival rocket is detected by the radar, the control center receives a warning, calculates the trajectory and the possible point of impact. If the location is an inhabited area, the system launches a missile programmed to explode near the projectile considered to be invading, causing its immediate destruction.
Each protective missile is about three meters long and 15 centimeters in diameter, weighing just over 90 kilograms. The Israeli government has a total of ten active launch batteries to protect its borders.
A shot made by the shield’s batteries costs approximately 66 thousand euros. The Israeli Defense Forces estimate that the system has already managed to intercept more than two thousand attacks, which would target populous areas of the country.
Because of the high operating costs, if tracking by the defense system’s control center finds that the missile will not reach inhabited towns or villages, the Iron Dome will not come into play.
The Iron Dome principle began to be developed in 2007, but the system only became operational in 2011, even so with an efficiency rate that was around 70%, according to data from the Israeli Air Force.
The fire test came during the Defense Pillar operation to try to eliminate Palestinian militants from Hamas in 2012. According to the Israeli government, the protection shield managed to intercept 85% of the missiles fired in the Gaza Strip at that time.
Currently, the system has been updated and received additional sensors to increase its efficiency rate across the entire territory of Israel. But the technology embedded in the Iron Dome comes at a price: today, the complete shield with control units, radars, and mobile launch batteries, which can operate from anywhere in the country, costs around US $ 50 million.
Source: DW, RADS, Military TV