Israel’s “shield” pushed to the limit: this is how the Iron Dome’s anti-missile system works | International

The Iron Dome defense system (as it is known in English) has been in operation for a decade. But it has never been used as much as in recent days. Our partner, Deutsche Welle, explains the mechanism.

Since the violence between Palestinians and Israelis escalated, hundreds of thousands of videos have been played on social media that appear to show the effectiveness of the Israeli missile defense system. Iron Dome.

In particular, videos from the night of Tuesday to Wednesday showing the bombing of Tel Aviv: sirens sound, dozens of luminous spheres hum in the sky above the darkness of the night, then shine brightly and give way to the noise of an explosion in the air that removes, for the moment, the danger for the population on the ground.

On social media, the Iron Dome is hailed as the life insurance of Israelis. Israel also uses other defense systems (such as David’s Honda and Arrow missiles), as this “dome” is aimed only against short-range missiles.

How does the Iron Dome missile defense system work?

Each system consists of a radar unit and a control center, which can detect oncoming projectiles, such as missiles. After takeoff, calculate your trajectory and your target.

Everything happens in seconds. It has to, because depending on the distance from the Gaza Strip, the Israelis only have 15 to 90 seconds to get to safety from an approaching missile.

The third element is the missile launchers.

There are three to four per system, each with room for 20 rockets. A defense missile is only launched when it is clear that a projectile is aimed at an inhabited area.

The interceptor missile, maneuverable in the air, does not hit the other projectile directly, but explodes in its vicinity, destroying it. However, falling debris can cause damage.

The systems are mobile and can be relocated. Ten of them are currently in use in Israel. According to the manufacturer, the Israeli state defense company Rafael Defense Systems, a single battery can protect a medium-sized city.

The system can intercept projectiles with a range of up to 70 kilometers. According to experts, 13 systems would be necessary to protect the entire country.

How reliable is the system?

The manufacturer declares a hit rate of 90%. The head of the Israeli missile defense organization, Moshe Patel, told Agence France-Presse news agency that as of January the Iron Dome had intercepted more than 2,400 projectiles in the last ten years. The arms manufacturer Rafael numbers more than 2,500 successful launches.

“Any missile intercepted would have hit an inhabited area, which could cause serious damage and cause casualties,” it is stated on the website of the Israeli Armed Forces.

According to the Israeli Army, 1,600 projectiles were fired at Israel during the current escalation, of which 400 are said to have landed on the Gaza Strip itself.

The radical Islamist group Hamas appears to be betting on the strategy of launching large entire volleys in rapid succession and testing the Iron Dome or even pushing it to its limits.

How much?

According to media reports, each battery shot costs around 56 million Chilean pesos. That is the reason why only projectiles that are going to hit an inhabited area should be intercepted.

The United States had financially supported the development of the system and, in addition, they have purchased two of these systems from Israel for their own defense.


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