Israel's new anti-ballistic defense system, designed to protect civilians against terrorist rocket fire from Gaza, passed series of live tests on Wednesday.
A defense official explained that the test of the Iron Dome defense system marked the first time that the system tested a mid-air deception of a target rocket, which was completely destroyed.
Iron Dome works by intercepting medium-range Katyusha rockets as well as the shorter, homemade Kassam rockets and mortar shells fired by Gaza terrorists. It uses a small kinetic missile interceptor called the “Tamir.” The anti-ballistic sytem is expected to intercept rockets between the ranges of 2-45 miles (3-72 km).
Defense Minister Ehud Barak is pleased with the continued successful testing of Iron Dome. Barak said that the multi-tiered defense system is a national strategic goal for the State of Israel.
Barak said the Iron Dome’s successful implementation will allow the IDF to fulfill its obligations to protect Israeli citizens in the best way possible. The Ministry’s director general, Pinchas Buchris, hailed the successful testing of Iron Dome performed this week as a milestone in the development of the system against ballistic threats. Defense Ministry officials said that the trials complete a series of preparations for the Israel Air Force, and are being run according to schedule.
Developed under contract by Israel Military Industry’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the $300 million system which was tested at the Ramon Air Force Base in southern Israel will reportedly be ready for operation by 2010.
It is meant to become part of a multi-layered defense system aimed at protecting Gaza Belt residents from shelling by Gaza terrorists, and residents in northern Israel from rocket attacks fired by Hizbullah terrorists in southern Lebanon.
The system might also be used to protect the rest of Israel from longer range attacks launched against the Jewish state from Syria or Iran. Israel has asked the United States to foot the bill for approximately 65 percent of the development costs for the project.
Palestinian Authority terrorists have launched more than 4,000 Kassam rockets at southern Israel since the Disengagement from Gaza in August 2005.
Residents in the north suffered a similar number of rocket attacks, with more than 4,000 Katyusha missiles fired by Hizbullah terrorists at Israeli communities as far south as Afula during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.