How Israel's Iron Dome Missile System Works

The system knows which rockets are on their way to cause the most damage, and it launches its expensive missiles at those.

    2021/05/21

NSFW    GAZA CITY, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES — Over the past few days, Palestinian militants have reacted to recent events by firing thousands of rockets into Israel from Gaza. Israel had managed to shoot down many of these rockets with its Iron Dome missile-defense system. Here are the details:

The BBC reports that Israel's Iron Dome air-defense system has shot down thousands of rockets fired from Gaza in the past few days.

This system is designed to destroy unguided rockets flying at low altitudes. It comprises multiple batteries that are spread out to defend a large area. Each battery is made up of three parts.

The first part is the radar unit, which detects enemy rockets and feed their speed and trajectory data to the command unit.

The command unit calculates which rockets pose the greatest threat to urban areas and infrastructure, ignoring those whose trajectory indicates they are likely to hit unpopulated areas.

The command unit then launches a three-meter-long missile at the selected target. The missile destroys the target by exploding in its path, and each missile costs about 40,000 dollars.

These missile-defense batteries can reach targets up to 70 kilometers away, and they are designed to be mobile, so they can be quickly packed up, transported, and redeployed.

The Iron Dome has also been repeatedly upgraded to counter the threat from mortars, which stay in the air for a much shorter time than rockets.

It has more recently also been upgraded to shoot down drones. The Israeli Defense Force said on May 13 that the system had shot down a Palestinian UAV, making it the first time a drone had been shot down during combat.
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