TEL AVIV — Israel has deployed its 8th Iron Dome anti-missile battery into the field, and it became fully operational Friday afternoon.
The Iron Dome has intercepted rockets at a success rate of 90% thus far in downing incoming rocket barrages from Gaza, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Each Iron Dome missile battery costs about $50 million dollars to make. Each anti-missile interceptor costs around $100,000. Each unit can defend the airspace of about 60 square miles.
Each Iron Dome battery consists of 3 units: A radar vehicle, a mobile control unit (MCU), and a missile launcher. The radar picks up the incoming rocket. It then monitors the trajectory of the inbound threat and sends the information over to the mobile control vehicle.
The MCU runs a computer analysis and estimates where the rocket barrage is going to land. If the impact point is deemed to be within range of a populated area, the MCU sends information to the launcher to fire an anti-missile interceptor. The entirety of the aforementioned process is accomplished within seconds.
Israel’s Defense Minister met with the heads of the companies that created the new Iron Dome batteries, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, on short notice to express gratitude for their timely work on behalf of their country. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said:
I want to thank and express great appreciation for the activity of the Iron Dome system. The system has had outstanding achievements, which first and foremost are saving lives, giving us broad choices in the battle against Hamas and are sending a message to the countries and organizations around us who hoard massive amounts of missiles and rockets. The impressive performance of the Iron Dome system are of strategic significance for the state of Israel, its defense and the security of its citizens.
The Israeli government said additional Iron Dome batteries are set to be deployed in the coming days.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget released in March suggested slashing U.S.-Israel cooperative defense programs, which Iron Dome is part of, from $200 million to $96.8 million. However, the U.S. Congress stepped in to boost funding for the joint venture by $350 million more than the president had requested.