Israel’s iron dome is tested in several ways during the fighting in Gaza
- Israel’s main defense against Hamas rockets is the Iron Dome system.
- About 4,000 rockets were fired at Israel over a 10-day period, according to the IDF.
- In addition to rockets, the Iron Dome also intercepted combat drones for the first time.
Israel’s skies are defended by the Iron Dome, an air defense system that has been put to the test in the current conflict with Palestinian militants not only by unusually strong rocket fire, but by others as well. threats he has never faced in combat.
The The Israel Defense Forces reported that over a 10-day period, Hamas and other Palestinian militant forces in Gaza fired 4,000 Qassam rockets at Israel. By comparison, during the intense 50-day conflict in 2014, 4,881 rockets were fired, according to UN investigators.
The IDF said the Iron Dome was successful in intercepting around 90% of incoming rockets deemed to be potential threats.
In a first for the system, the Iron Dome also intercepted unmanned aerial vehicles in combat. The system has so far intercepted five Hamas drones since the fighting began earlier this month, the IDF told Insider.
The Israeli Iron Dome is a short-range air defense system designed to intercept rockets, artillery, and mortars. The system has been in use since 2011 and has helped reduce the death toll from rocket attacks on Israeli cities.
The air defense system was developed by Israeli defense companies Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries with support from the United States. It is part of a larger tiered defense system that includes other critical assets such as the Arrow and Patriot batteries.
Israel’s Defense Ministry announced in March the completion of Iron Dome upgrades that would allow it to defend against a more diverse set of air threats.
During the upgrade process, the defense system was tested against a variety of threats, including rockets, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles, the Associated Press reported.
The Iron Dome is designed to eliminate air threats at ranges of up to just over 40 miles in all weather conditions. Each Iron Dome battery consists of three to four launchers, each carrying 20 Tamir interceptors and a battlefield radar.
Israel has at least 10 batteries deployed across the country. There could be more, as it was planned to deploy 15 batteries.
Although the system is effective, “there is no such thing as an airtight solution,” Avi Mayer, a former IDF spokesperson, recently told Insider.
“There may indeed be a situation in which these systems are overwhelmed,” he said. “We certainly hope not to reach this point, but I think if we reach this point it would be extremely dangerous, not only for Israel, but also for the Palestinians.”
“What people don’t understand is that the Iron Dome system spares not only Israeli lives, but also many Palestinian lives,” he said, suggesting that Israel can show more restraint. because most of the incoming rockets fail to pass.
The IDF declined to comment on how the Iron Dome affects the military’s strategic thinking, but IDF spokeswoman Capt.Libby Weiss told Insider she believes “ we would be in a very different conflict ”if Israel did not have the Iron Dome.
“We are, of course, extremely grateful that he exists,” Mayer said. “We can only shudder at the thought of the number of lives that would have been lost had this not been the case.”
Ian Williams, a missile defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Insider that “the hope” with the Iron Dome is that it has a stabilizing effect.
“If you can ease the pressure of rocket attacks with missile defense, that leaves more room for diplomacy. This allows Israel not to send troops so soon. It slows down the need for Israel to retaliate, ”he said.
“The flip side is you can say that Iron Dome allows Israel to be much more aggressive because it can withstand rocket attacks from Hamas,” Williams added, telling Insider that “he is difficult to prove “which is the case.
Some of the rockets launched at Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip passed through Israeli defenses, some rockets directly hitting urban centers and killing civilians in Israel.
Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes on targets in Gaza since the fighting began, killing both combatants and civilians.
Scenes of destruction inside Gaza coupled with reports of civilian casualties recall the horrors of the Gaza war in 2014 in which more than 2,000 Palestinians were killed. More than half were civilians.
An IDF spokeswoman previously told Insider that “when it comes to our practices in the Strip, we are obviously very concerned about the impact on the civilian population in Gaza.”
The challenge, she explained, is for Hamas and other Palestinian militant forces to operate in and around civilian infrastructure in a densely populated area, making it difficult for Israeli forces to target Hamas and secure it. its own defense without harming civilians.
International pressure is increasing as the death toll rises, with calls for a ceasefire becoming more frequent.
In a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, President Joe Biden said he “expected significant de-escalation” and progress “on the path to a ceasefire”. according to a reading of the call to the White House.
In a subsequent statement, Netanyahu said he appreciated “the support of the US president,” but was “determined to continue this operation until its goal is achieved”, the goal being the return of ” calm and security “in Israel.