The Iron Dome: Israel's Life-Saver
The Iron Dome missile defense system, co-developed by the United States’ Raytheon and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has achieved an impressive 90 percent success rate in shooting down rockets launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip.
The advanced short-range missile defense system automatically calculates if rockets fired by the Palestinian jihadis in Gaza are likely to hit populated areas. If the computer calculates a threat to the civilian areas, it immediately launches a counter-missile, calibrating the projectile to intercept and terminate the incoming rockets. The missile will then detonate when it comes within close proximity of its airborne target, destroying the threat.
The Iron Dome has been utilized to intercept roughly 27 percent of the rockets fired between Monday and midday Wednesday. Since the Iron Dome has been activated, the system has successfully thwarted 90 percent of rockets sent towards Israel.
In Operation Pillar of Defense, an Israeli military operation carried out in 2012 in which Israel conducted a ground raid into the Gaza strip, its Iron Dome batteries terminated 84% of incoming rockets from Gaza.
An IDF spokesperson said that the army has been making technological upgrades and improvements since Pillar of Defense to the Iron Dome batteries over the past two years. Some have suggested the systemic upgrades may account for the rise in percentage of successful knock-downs. The spokesman said the specific focus for modifying the system was on how to counteract rocket barrages--when the Iron Dome has to respond to multiple missile attacks at the same time.
Israel now has seven Iron Dome batteries deployed throughout the country, all of which are strategically located to protect highly populated areas.
A top IDF official said Wednesday that he fears an upcoming marked rise in the number of rockets that will penetrate the Iron Dome and hit Israel, as was seen in 2012 during Operation Pillar of Defense. So far, there have been very few rocket strikes that have successfully hit civilian areas. Because of Iron Dome’s effectiveness, minimal injuries have occurred on the Israeli side so far during the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Some have noted that Israel incurs a heavy financial cost with each Iron Dome interception, while Hamas bears little cost in launching its cheaply made non-sophisticated missiles into Israel. While the costs are lopsided in favor of Hamas, most agree that an increase in expenditures is certainly worth the lives it saves.
Defense officials have said that the David’s Sling prototype system, also known as Magic Wand, which is still under development, has been integrated into an Iron Dome battery. The David’s Sling is being developed as part of Israel’s missile defense apparatus to counter medium-range threats coming from between 100-200 kilometers away.
Separately, Israel’s air control has diverted civilian takeoff and landing paths. The new airplane path structures being implemented are largely in response to the Hamas Palestinian terrorists continuing to launch rockets attacks in the direction of Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, located roughly 50 miles from the Gaza Strip.