In last 48 hours about 1050 rockets were fired at Israel, and the videos which emerged, got everyone wondering how does Iron dome work? So, how about some quick non-technical deets on it?
What is Iron dome?
It’s an air defence system which was designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets. It was developed jointly by the United States and Israeli company Rafael, as a response to the threats Israel faces from short and medium-range rockets and mortar shells fired from Gaza. A report published in 2020 says there are about 10 batteries of Iron dome across Israel. The first time it made news was on April 7, 2011, when the system had successfully intercepted its first projectile– a rocket fired from Gaza towards Israel. Soon after the incident, Israeli aircraft had targeted rocket-launching terrorist cell. In 2016, Israel made the first foreign sale of the Iron Dome to Azerbaijan.
Range: It intercepts rockets and artillery shells fired from distances 4km to 70Km
Area covered: There are about 10 batteries of Iron dome and each covers abt 155sq Km.
Efficiency: 75-95%– this is a contested claim but going by the low casualty rate on Israeli side, Iron dome definitely proves itself to be an efficient system.
Battery: The typical Iron Dome battery has 3-4 launchers (20 missiles per launcher)
Ostensibly, all installations across multi geography remain in active contact & thus share relevant information trajectories and area of impact.
How does it work?
A quick 3 step process:
- Missile is fired Israel is detected by a radar system
- Battle Management & Weapon Control (BMC) calculates the impact point. If the rocket is perceived as a threat, the system takes next step.
- A faster interceptor called Tamir is fired at the incoming rocket. 2 Tamir missiles for every projectile from enemy side.
So is Iron dome costly?
Unit cost: $50 million per battery and $40,000 per missile
The first thought that immediately crosses one’s mind is– yes, it is costly.
But experts say– one should look at the damage the incoming rockets can cause to the nation. Since Iron dome is known for it’s precision, lesser number of interceptors have to be fired and ergo it saves money on number of interceptors needed. Going by the low causality rate on Israeli side, one can safely conclude Iron dome is cost efficient.
What does Hamas have in it’s arsenal?
According to Jerusalem post, Hamas has hundreds of rockets with a range of 70-80 km., which would have the range to hit 3 critical targets: Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion Airport and Jerusalem. These would include the J-80, M-75, Fajr-5 and a second-generation M-75.
Hamas is estimated to have a fighting force of close to 40,000 men