Iron Dome | Israel’s Air Defense System

Iron Dome Israel
Credit: Reuters
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As Hamas targeted Israel with its rockets fired from Gaza on 10th and 11th May, Israel’s Air Defense System Iron Dome has intercepted 90 percent of them barring a few hitting Tel Aviv.

Multiple viral videos show the efficacy of the Iron Dome as it saved Israel from large-scale destruction.

What is Iron Dome?

Iron Dome is a short-range, ground-to-air, air defense system that includes radar and intercepting missiles. This air defense technology is used to intercept incoming rockets, artillery, and mortars.

The air defense system was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems (a state-owned arms company based in the northern city of Haifa).

The system can track and hit targets from a maximum range of 40 miles or 70 km. The intercepting missile explodes 10 meters near the target. Shrapnel from the exploded missile destroys the incoming target.

The project was started by Israel in 2007 and became active around 2011.

VIDEO WAS TAKEN FROM ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES FACEBOOK PAGE

The Iron Dome is basically composed of three main parts; a radar (detects and tracks the speed and target of the incoming threat), a battle management and weapon control system (BMC), and a missile-firing unit. BMC intercommunicates between radar and the interceptor missile.

This system is meant to protect populated areas and critical assets or sites inside Israel. In case, the incoming threat is hitting an unpopulated area, BMC won’t intercept it.

Israel is the only country in the world that owns this air defense technology.

How Much Does Iron Dome Cost?

As per available information, one unit of Iron Dome costs $50,000. On the other hand, it takes $80,000 to build the interceptor Tamir missile. However, a rocket that is intercepted is available only for $1,000.

In a sense, although Israel is successful in preventing the loss of lives, Hamas is giving Israel a financial blow by firing rockets.

Funding of the Iron Dome

The initial funding of the Iron Dome was undertaken by Israel that led to the development of the first two Iron Dome systems according to wikipedia.

Later on, the funding for additional eight Iron Dome systems was done by the United States.

This system is partly funded by the United States. In 2016, the US committed USD 5 billion to the development costs of Iron Dome.

This air defense system is one of the strategic pillars of the US-Israel alliance.

Will it be successful in intercepting Hypersonic Ballistic Missiles?

As a few of the fired rockets dodged Iron Dome and hit certain critical sites in Tel Aviv Israel; it questions the working and credibility of this air defense system.

While its success rate remained at circa 80-90 percent, will it be able to intercept hypersonic ballistic missiles that move with a speed more than 5 times the speed of sound?

Moreover, the rockets fly horizontally and with less speed that makes them easy to be intercepted. But, ballistic missiles come straight down from the sky moving vertically. That makes hypersonic BM a hard target because of its speed and movement.

Analysis shows that in case of war with Turkey, Iran, or Pakistan, Israel’s air defense system will be unable to intercept incoming missiles.

Bottom Line

Given the exuberant costs of Iron Dome systems, a few simple rockets costing $1000 will be enough to financially exhaust Israel. Moreover, it is yet to be seen how far will this system be successful in intercepting hypersonic state-of-the-art ballistic missiles.

Recent rocket strikes by Hamas have exposed Israel’s flawed air defense system.


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