Daily Management Review

Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System Explained


Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System Explained
Israel is coordinating its missile defence system to safeguard its population during the current crisis and is once more relying on its Iron Dome to fend off threats from the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Following a catastrophic and well-planned attack by Hamas on southern Israel over the weekend, the short-range system's strategic significance has been highlighted.
Israel's response has been to bombard Gaza with airstrikes, and it is anticipated that it would soon begin a land offensive there.
Israel has also imposed a "complete siege" on the Gaza Strip in an effort to cut off the nearly 2.3 million residents' access to electricity, food, water, and gasoline.
According to Israel's military, the ongoing violence has resulted in at least 1,200 Israeli deaths and more than 2,700 injuries. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that 1,203 people have died and 5,763 have been injured in Gaza.
What is the Iron Dome?
One of the most crucial weapons in Israel's inventory is the Iron Dome, or "Kippat Barzel" in Hebrew. That's in part because it's regarded as being quite effective.
The Iron Dome system reportedly successfully intercepted 97% of all Palestinian rockets fired during a weekend-long flare-up of fighting in Gaza last year, according to Israel's Defence Ministry, while the system had a 95.6% success rate during a rocket attack by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in May.
Israel, the United States, the European Union, and other countries have all labelled the militant group—which aspires to destroy Israel—as a terrorist organisation.
The mobile all-weather defence system, which went into full operation in March 2011 and has subsequently undergone a number of upgrades, was created to defend Israeli residents by launching guided missiles to stop approaching rockets and other short-range threats in mid-air.
Since it was initially used in April 2011, the system has undergone "consistent testing," according to Israel's Defence Ministry, and "successfully prevented countless rockets from hitting Israeli communities."
The Iron Dome was created by Israel's state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems with support from the United States, and Washington still contributes money to its ongoing development.
The Iron Dome, according to Israel's Defence Forces, is a combination of a number of elements, including the technology itself, the equipment used to block incoming missiles, the soldiers who run the system, and the commanders who oversee the network.
How does it operate?
In actuality, the Iron Dome tracks approaching rockets with radar in order to decide whether the missile's trajectory constitutes a threat to a protected area, such as a strategically significant facility or inhabited area.
A command and control centre can reply by launching its own Tamir missile to intercept the rocket if it does represent a threat. Because the system is not set up to fire on rockets outside of a protected area, these are disregarded and allowed to land safely somewhere else.
The Iron Dome is a mobile anti-rocket, anti-mortar, and anti-artillery system that can intercept missiles from 2.5 to 43 miles away, according to a Congressional Research Service assessment released in early March.
Each battery is built to protect a 60-square-mile populated area, and it is anticipated that at least 10 batteries are currently deployed around the country. There are three to four launchers per battery, and each launcher can hold up to 20 Tamir interceptors.
A entire Iron Dome battery is said to cost about $100 million to produce, according to a recent estimate from the American research tank Centre for Strategic International Studies.
It was reported that the United States had given Israel about to $3 billion for Iron Dome batteries, interceptors, co-production costs, and general maintenance before Hamas' attack on October 7.
The funding of Israel's Iron Dome systems has received numerous votes from American lawmakers in recent years.
“Thanks to the Iron Dome, we have not sustained tremendous casualties from the rockets that have been fired,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a spokesperson for Israel’s Defense Forces, said Saturday in a video statement posted via X, formerly known as Twitter.
At the time of that broadcast, IDF spokesman Conricus claimed that "close-contact fighting" and "cold-blooded killings" of civilians and troops were to blame for the vast majority of Israel's losses.
However, the Iron Dome has flaws, and experts have cautioned that the defence system may have problems responding to intense rocket bombardment.
In June 2021, the American research group Centre for European Policy Analysis warned that if extremists were to successfully locate and overwhelm Israel's Iron Dome, "critical updates to the system may not be achievable."
The goal of a saturation strike is to overwhelm the Iron Dome barrier with simultaneous missile attacks coming from several directions, making it difficult for the system to react quickly enough.