What is the Iron Dome?

ASHKELON, ISRAEL - MAY 20:  Israel's Iron Dome anti missile system launches to intercept a rocket on May 20, 2021 in Sderot, Israel.

Israel’s short-range Iron Dome air defense system works to intercept rockets fired from Gaza, Reuters reported.

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The Iron Dome was developed by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and was backed by the U.S. The purpose is to counter rocket fire from Lebanon that hit Israel during the 2006 war with Hezbollah, Reuters reported. Hamas took control the following year in 2007. It became operational in 2011.

The system is considered the most advanced defense mechanisms in the world, according to the BBC. It uses radar to identify then destroy incoming threats.

David’s Slin and Arrow, which are separate systems, are designed for medium- and long-range threats, The Washington Post reported. These include planes, drones, rockets, and missiles.

“Each truck-towed unit fires radar-guided missiles to blow up short-range threats like rockets, mortars and drones in mid-air. It bookends Israel’s multi-tier air defense array opposite Arrow-3, which is designed to intercept ballistic missiles outside the earth’s atmosphere,” according to Reuters.

The Iron Dome is believed to have a high success rate which U.S. Pentagon officials corroborated. It has had a 96% success rate, Reuters reported.

The Iron Dome has changed the lives of Israelis over last few years and has allowed some kind of “normality” in areas with heavy rocket strikes, the Post reported.

The Iron Dome is supposed to be able to determine if a rocket is on course to hit an area that is populated, Reuters said. If it is not, then the rocket is ignored. It was originally made to provide city-sized coverage against rockets but has since expanded.

It reportedly costs about $2 per interception. The whole system costs between tens of thousands of dollars and millions of dollars.

“The Iron Dome Aerial Defense System has one purpose -- to intercept rockets mid-air before they can kill Israeli civilians. We will not apologize for saving lives,” the Israeli Defense Forces said in 2021, according to CNN. Those missiles intercept over 90% of the rockets that are targeted but it does not get every rocket.

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