Iron Dome is an effective, truck-towed mobile air defence system developed by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems. The system has been developed to counter very short range rockets and artillery shell (155mm) threats with ranges of up to 70km. It can be operated in all weather conditions including fog, dust storm, low clouds and rain.
Iron Dome provides defence against short-range missiles and rockets which pose a threat to the civilian population of Israel’s northern and southern border. The system was deployed by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in March 2011.
In November 2012, Israel installed the fifth Iron Dome battery at Gush Dan in response to the recent rocket attacks on the Tel Aviv area.
Iron Dome mobile air defence system
Firing of rockets by Hezbollah during 2006’s Second Lebanon War led to the development of Iron Dome. Nearly 4,000 rockets, mostly of the short-range Katyusha type, were fired on Haifa and other northern regions of Israel.
To counter the rocket threats, the Israel Defence Ministry decided in February 2007 to develop a mobile air defence system.
Iron Dome missile system features
Iron Dome is composed of three fundamental elements –
Detection and tracking radar,
Battle management and weapon control system (BMC)
Missile firing unit (MFU). .
It has several steering fins for high manoeuvrability and is equipped with electro-optic sensors.
Other features of the Iron Dome include a vertical launch interceptor, warhead and proximity fuse, mobile launcher and compatibility with various radar and detection systems. The system’s special warhead allows it to detonate any target in the air.
After detecting and identifying the rocket launch, Iron Dome radar monitors the path of the launched rocket. Based on the radar’s information, the system’s BMC analyses the path of the threat and calculates an anticipated point of impact.
If the calculated path of the incoming rocket poses a real threat, a command is run to launch an interceptor against the threat. The incoming rocket is detonated over a neutral area.
International interest in the mobile air defence system
To explore the potential sale of the Iron Dome system, the Israeli Government is in talks with a number of European countries.
The new short-range missile defence system helps in protecting Nato forces positioned in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Two Asian countries have shown interest in Israel’s Iron Dome system. It has been reported that the Indian Defence Ministry is in negotiations with Israel for the procurement of the Iron Dome.
Singapore is in talks with Israel for the possession of the new system as part of a once-secret military cooperation pact. The US, too, has shown interest in the Iron Dome system.