The Israel Defense Ministry said the Iron Dome counterrocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) interceptor system has successfully passed its final tests July 19. It is expected that the first two systems will be deployed operationally around November.
Iron Dome is developed and produced by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. During the final testS in Southern Israel, Iron Dome successfully engaged salvos of live rockets and mortar shells. With participation of teams from the IAF Iron Dome air defense battalion, the system repeatedly engaged rocket salvos and mortar shells in increasingly complex scenarios.
The system demonstrated effective detection and intercept of targets above and below cloud cover, while maintaining "keep-out zones" for integration with air traffic over the protected area. Iron Dome detected, tracked and selectively engaged only those targets presenting a threat to the area being protected. This feature - unique to the Israeli active defense system - is attributed to the multimode radar (MMR) and battle management and weapon control (BMC) system developed specially for the Iron Dome.
Credit: Noam Eshel
The Iron Dome battalion will allocate its first unit to protect the area bordering with the northern Gaza strip (the city of Sderot). A second unit is slated to protect areas in northern Israel, along the border with Lebanon. While protecting the civil population is the most visible mission of Iron Dome, apart from securing Israeli settlements and towns vulnerable to rocket attacks, the system will play a critical role in the defense of strategic sites located in these areas.
By defending military bases, staging areas, forward air bases and ports, the system will protect sensitive sites, playing an important role in IDF capability conducting surge operations, such as the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and operation Lead Cast operation in Gaza in 2009.