Iron Dome Missile Defense System

Iron Dome is a high-tech Israel-made air defense system that counters short-range rockets, artillery shells, and mortars (projectiles) fired from distances of up to 70 km (45 mi). One of its most advanced features is the ability to determine where an incoming projectile will land and to only intercept and destroy those that pose danger to populated areas while allowing off-target threats to detonate in uninhabited areas. The system uses the Tamir missile as its combat-proven interceptor.

The Iron Dome Missile Shield is mobile and operates in all weather conditions, including low clouds, rain, dust, storms, fogs and even in the dark at night. It can intercept projectiles coming from different directions simultaneously and though it was originally created to counter short-range threats, it is possible that Israel has improvised its range of interceptions from 70 km to 250 km.

An Iron Dome battery launches a Tamir interceptor missile

Israel was always under the constant threat of rockets fired towards it by militant groups from the Gaza strip and by Hezbollah in Lebanon. This led to Israel's decision to come up with an effective short-range anti-missile defense system and between 2007 - 2010, the Iron Dome was developed and tested. In 2011, it was declared operational and on April 7 the same year, history was made after it intercepted a rocket fired by Gaza's militants towards the Israeli city of Ashkelon. This event marked the first time ever that a short-range rocket had been intercepted by an operational anti-missile defense system.

A typical air defense missile battery consists of a radar unit, missile control unit and several launchers all located at the same site. The Iron Dome is comprised of  three such principal components:
  • A Detection & Tracking Radar
  • The Battle Management & Weapon Control System Software
  • The Missile Firing Unit which launches the Tamir missiles
This is how the Iron Dome works. When the enemy fires a rocket, artillery shell or mortar bomb, the Radar immediately detects and identifies the projectile and starts monitoring its path. Target data is then transmitted to the Battle Management & Weapon Control System which quickly analyzes the incoming projectile's path and estimates expected impact point. If the projectile is likely to hit inhabited or protected area, a command is given and within seconds the Missile Firing Unit launches a Tamir missile to intercept and destroy the enemy's weapon in mid-air before it reaches and harms the intended target.

The cost of Iron Dome Weapon System comes with a high price tag. The price of a single Iron Dome Battery is $50 million while each Tamir missile costs $40,000 however, it cuts costs through its ability to detect and only intercept projectiles that pose a threat to occupied areas while allowing off-target threats to detonate in unoccupied areas. It can also help a Country save billions by reducing infrastructure damage and protect lives during a war.



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