Military and Strategic Affairs_Lessons from the Iron Dome

Military and Strategic Affairs

| Volume 5 | No. 1 | May 2013

Lessons from the Iron Dome

Yiftah S. Shapir

Israel has been under rocket attack for many years.

1 Particularly memorable

 are the shelling of Galilee panhandle towns in the 1970s, the Second

 Lebanon War in 2006, when Israel suffered over 4,000 rocket attacks in

 one month, and the ongoing rocket fire from the Gaza Strip over the past

 decade. Over the years, the State of Israel has developed a doctrine for

 defense against high trajectory weapons, of which rocket fire is one type.

 This doctrine is based on layers of defense, from passive defense, to active

 defense – involving interception of rockets and missiles by the Iron Dome

 system, David’s Sling (in development), the Arrow 2, and the Arrow 3 (in

 development), to offense against launchers on their bases.

 This article focuses on the Iron Dome system, which entered into

 operational service in early 2011 and demonstrated what it was capable

 of within a few months of its deployment. The article attempts to examine

 the lessons from the system’s deployment and to reassess the decision

 about purchasing the system. It will also examine future ramifications of

 deploying this system and other systems that are expected to enter into

 service in the near future.


 Iron Dome is a system for intercepting rockets and artillery shells with

 ranges of up to 70 kilometers.

2  It was developed by Rafael Advanced

 Defense Systems in cooperation with Elta Systems, which produces the

 radar, and mPrest, which is responsible for the command and control

 system. The system uses a unique interceptor missile for shooting down

 rockets. Iron Dome batteries include a radar system, a command center,


Yiftah S. Shapir is a senior research fellow and director of the Military Balance

Project at INSS.



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