Israel under the "Iron Dome": what kind of system is it and how does it work

Victoria DovganNews
The Iron Dome system
The Iron Dome system, which protects Israel from Hamas rockets

On Saturday, October 7, Hamas militants launched rocket attacks on Israel. Thousands of rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip. Residents of southern and central cities were ordered to stay near shelters and take care of their own safety. In response, the Israeli army launched the Iron Swords counterterrorism operation.

The world-famous Iron Dome system protects the lives of Israeli civilians. OBOZREVATEL has figured out what makes it unique, how it works, and how it came into service with the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces).

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"Iron Dome": the beginning

It all started when, during the 2006 Lebanon War, Hamas terrorists fired an unprecedented number of rockets at Israel - about 4,000. As a result, dozens of civilians were killed, and a quarter of a million people had to be evacuated from the danger zone.

After that, the Israeli Ministry of Defense decided that only a highly effective air defense system could stop enemy attacks. Wasting no time, Israeli experts began developing it in 2007.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems became the "mother" of the now legendary missile interception system. The work progressed quite quickly, and in 2009 the Iron Dome system was successfully tested. Two years later, in 2011, the first battery was put on combat duty. For the first time, it managed to "hunt down" an enemy missile on April 7 near the city of Ashkelon, EDR wrote.

Currently, there are nine rescue batteries on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. However, the Israeli authorities, Haaretz writes, have set a goal to increase their number to 15 and are ready to invest $1 billion in this project. After all, the lives of thousands of people depend on it - according to The Jerusalem Post, back in 2012, the Iron Dome managed to intercept up to 90% of militant rocket launches.

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Anatomy of the "Iron Dome"

The essence of this system is that it must respond to short-range missiles and artillery shells (within 4-70 km), neutralizing them in flight. In addition, the system is highly mobile, as its dimensions and design allow for rapid transportation and deployment to virtually any desired location.

Another highlight of the system is its ability to simultaneously detect multiple targets and operate equally effectively in different weather conditions or times of day.

In addition, the technological development of the Iron Dome is not standing still, and it has been six years since this "hunter" was taught to recognize not only missiles but also unmanned aerial vehicles, as reported by Defence Update.

In general, the three main components of Israel's main defender against deadly missiles are a radar that identifies and tracks enemy targets, a fire control center, and three launchers, each of which is "stuffed" with 20 Tamir interceptor missiles.

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How does it work?

First, the system activates a radar that tracks in detail the moment of launch, the type of missile and its flight path. After that, the information it collects is sent to the fire control center, which automatically calculates the likely point of impact.

If there is a threat of it hitting a place where people live or a critical infrastructure facility, the last phase of the Iron Dome's action begins: the system fires an interceptor missile that causes the enemy target to explode in midair without falling anywhere. It is noteworthy that all three stages of the system's operation take a maximum of 3-5 seconds.

It is worth noting that the missiles fired by the "dome" to shoot down enemy ammunition also have several "surprises". For example, they are capable of performing radar guidance and destroying militants' missiles remotely, without a direct hit.

Who else in the world is protected by the "dome"?


Israeli-American cooperation in this area has been ongoing since 2010. However, the United States signed a contract with partners to purchase the first two batteries only in 2019, Defense News noted. The army received the newest weapons in early 2021.

According to unofficial sources of information, the Iron Dome has already been allegedly purchased by Singapore. This information was published by Bloomerg back in 2012.

In addition, according to Army Technology, countries such as South Korea, Azerbaijan, India, and even Romania are in line to buy the Israeli "dome." The latter, by the way, wants this system to be produced at its facilities.

As reported by OBOZREVATEL, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his first public statement after the massive attack by the Hamas terrorist group and said that the country was at war.

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