Amid the Israel-Palestine conflict, the night sky over Israel has been ablaze with interceptor missiles from Iron Dome shooting down the incoming rockets in the sky.
Q. What is Iron Dome?
Iron Dome is a multi-mission system capable of intercepting rockets, artillery, mortars and Precision Guided Munitions as well as aircraft, helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) over short ranges of up to 70 km.
It is an all-weather system and can engage multiple targets simultaneously and can be deployed over land and sea.
Iron Dome is jointly manufactured by Rafael Advanced Systems and has been in service with Israeli Air Force since 2011.
The radar system was developed by Elta.
Q. What is the procedure for Working of Iron Dome?
An Iron Dome battery consists of a battle management control unit, a detection and tracking radar and a firing unit of three vertical launchers, with 20 interceptor missiles each.
The interceptor missile uses a proximity fuse to detonate the target warhead in the air.
One of the system’s important advantages is its ability to identify the anticipated point of impact of the threatening rocket, to calculate whether it will fall in a built-up area or not, and to decide on this basis whether or not to engage it.
This prevents unnecessary interception of rockets that will fall in open areas and thus not cause damage, the paper states.
The system has intercepted thousands of rockets so far and, according to Rafael Advanced Systems, its success rate is over 90%.
Q. What are the Limitations of the system?
The system can see limitations when it is overwhelmed with a barrage of projectiles.
The system has a ‘saturation point’.
It is capable of engaging a certain number of targets at the same time, and no more.
One of the possible limitations is the system’s inability to cope with very short range threats as estimates put the Iron Dome’s minimum interception range at 5-7 kilometres.