The Iron Dome is an Israeli state of the art Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar (C-RAM) which automatically detects and intercepts incoming rockets and mortars through the Tamir missiles which is a part of the system
The defence system has created a perfect example of efficient interceptors , many experts believe that Iron Dome is the perfect replacement to the Man Portable Air Defence System (MANPADS) which had a risk of getting into the wrong hands ie extremists who can then turn them towards the civilian aircrafts as we witnessed the shooting down of Russian Civilian aircraft over the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt)
Coming back to the Iron Dome System , what compelled the Israelis to develop such a system ?
It dates back to 2006 when the Israeli Defence ministry finally decided to develop such a system which would intercept incoming projectiles , mortars and artillery shells , following a year in which Iranian backed militant group Hezbollah fired 4000+ rockets on Northern Israel during the SECOND LEBANESE WAR which damaged 12,000 Israeli houses were destroyed and an estimate of $ 2 billion worth infrastructure was damaged. UN report which was published a week after states that 43 civilians were killed along with 75 grievously injured
The Israelis at the same period experienced a lot of rocket attacks at the southern part of Israel (GAZA STRIP) which was carried out by Palestinian Militant Group HAMAS.
(Katyusha rockets of Hezbollah)
(Qassam rockets of Hamas)
The Israelis wanted something which could counter the Katyusha and Kassam which were the main assets of Hezbollah group. They looked upon the Nautilus Laser system but was already canceled by the US government in 2005 as they preferred the solid state laser. The Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser was the answer to the Hezbollah rockets. But the crowd diverted their attention towards the Nautilus System as the Americans had resumed the project , due it proved to be ineffective and didn’t show results on dusty days and the project had to be abandoned.
Finally in February 2007 , the Israeli prime minister announced that RAFAEL – Israelis Armament Development Agency would develop a system which would cater to all the needs as it will be capable of intercepting Qassam rockets fired by Hamas and Katyusha fired by Hezbollah. The project was dubbed as “IRON DOME”. But as the project advanced , in the late 2007 , some Israeli government officials said that they were concerned about the project as it didn’t have consistent funding from the state
By 2008 , the Israelis again looked for international vendors through which they could procure anti-rocket systems which could counter the prevailing threats , as it was stated by Rafael that iron dome wouldn’t be operational by 2010
On August the 6th , 2008 the Israeli Air Force came out with a new missile prototype which could be used for both Iron Dome and David’s Sling.
End of Part – 1
Part -2 will be published tomorrow
by Kushal Sinha