All about Iron Dome Defence System

By Sudheer Kumar K|Updated : May 16th, 2021

The Iron Dome Aerial Defence System of Israel intercepted Hamas Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) that crossed from Gaza into Israel. Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said that Hamas (a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist but pragmatic, militant, and nationalist organization) has fired more than 1,500 rockets from Gaza all the way into Israel. The night sky over Israel has been ablaze with interceptor missiles from Iron Dome shooting down the incoming rockets in the sky.

About Iron Dome

Iron Dome is a multi-mission system capable of intercepting rockets, artillery, mortars and Precision Guided Munitions like very short range air defence (V-SHORAD) systems as well as aircraft, helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) over short ranges of up to 70 km. Key features of Iron Dome:

  • It is an all-weather system
  • It can engage multiple targets simultaneously
  • It can be deployed over land and sea

Advantages of Iron Dome

  • It has the 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.
  • According to Rafael, the system has intercepted thousands of rockets so far and its success rate is over 90%.

Limitations of Iron Dome

The system has performed very well so far. However, it has limitations when it is overwhelmed with a barrage of projectiles. According to a research paper, 

  • “The system has a ‘saturation point’. It is capable of engaging a certain number of targets at the same time and any additional rockets fired in a crowded salvo could succeed in breaching the Iron Dome defence system and cause damage.”
  • Another possible limitation 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.  In the recent attack, Hamas could overwhelm the Isarel's Iron Dome system and damage Israel infrastructure and kill civilians also. Hamas is developing mitigating strategies including lowering the trajectories of the projectiles while also continuing to accumulate thousands of rockets with improved precision.
  • The cost of interception is high. The cost of the interceptor missile is about $40,000-50,000.

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