Since Monday, May 10, the groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad have launched hundreds of rockets against Israel, reaching Tel Aviv and other cities, but fewer than 20 have managed to hit thanks to the anti-missile system known as the Iron Dome, which intercept the rockets reducing the number of possible victims. How does this system, the flagship of the Israeli forces, work?
Installed since 2011, the Iron Dome works with a radar detection and analysis system that first detects the launch of rockets and then determines if the trajectory of the rocket represents a threat to populated areas or relevant infrastructure in Israeli territory. The cupola sends another missile to intercept and detonate it in midair.
The first barrier of the Iron Dome is a sophisticated combat management and weapons control software that detects and monitors the trajectory of the rockets, then the control system calculates the point of impact and commands the exit of Tamir rockets from the batteries. –Located at strategic points vertically– that have three launchers for 20 missiles that intercept and destroy enemy artillery.
The Iron Dome is capable of intercepting missiles in a radius of 4 to 70 kilometers and is designed to operate in all weather conditions. The first battery was installed in March 2011 near the southern city of Beersheva, 40 km from the Gaza Strip. At present, an estimated 10 mobile batteries have been installed with the aim of fully covering Israeli territory.
According to Moshe Patel, director of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Missile Defense Organization, this system known as the Iron Dome “has the ability to counter attack by cruise missiles, drones and much more, including threats that are not yet even they exist in the field but are likely to emerge in the coming months. “
According to the Israeli Government, this system is 80 to 90 percent effective, making it the flagship weapon of the Israeli army.
This defense system was developed by the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems company, under the technical and financial backing of the United States. Its cost was approximately 796.4 million euros and each missile launched is around $ 50,000, a cost that has drawn criticism to Israel, along with generous contributions from the United States.
During the Barack Obama administration, an estimated $ 675 million was earmarked for the Iron Dome. “Israel has the right to expect that they do not fire missiles against its territory,” the former US president said at the time.
In the last hours, social networks have been flooded with images of flashes over the Israeli sky that illustrate the violent escalation that has taken place since Monday between Hamas and Israel and that document the actions of the Iron Dome, which is already considered one one of the most advanced defense systems in the world and that surpasses in military action the rocket attacks of the Palestinian militias.
Although state-of-the-art, security experts have warned that the Iron Dome is inefficient with short-range rockets.
An Iron Dome for the defense of the Gulf?
Last December, Israel showed an openness to eventual cooperation in missile defense with the Arab Gulf states that share its concerns about Iran, although Moshe Patel, who heads the Israel Missile Defense Organization – part of the Defense Ministry – He said it was still premature to pursue such deals as, according to him, Washington’s approval would be needed if Israeli systems developed with American technology were involved.
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“From an engineering point of view, of course, there are many advantages. That information can be shared, like sensors that can be deployed in both countries because we have the same enemies, ”Patel told a group of journalists at the time.
The first time the Iron Dome was talked about was in the 1990s during the Gulf War, when rockets were falling on Tel-Aviv and the Israeli defense had to devise a device capable of destroying missiles in the air.
Currently the Iron Dome is one of several advanced defense systems that Israel has, but it has been the main protagonist in the last hours of conflict between the Israeli forces and Hamas, which for now has more than 50 deaths between Palestinians and Israelis. .