Report: 'Iron Dome' Nearly Done

The massive “Iron Dome” rocket defense project may be operational within weeks.

Maayana Miskin, | updated: 20:38

Iron Dome in action
Iron Dome in action
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Iron Dome rocket defense system is near completion, and may be operational within weeks, according to a report in Globes. The system recently passed a trial run by the Air Force, after previously passing tests created by its designers.

Defense officials plan to order four or five Iron Dome systems. United States President Barack Obama has asked Congress to approve $205 million in aid for the project.

The report of the system's readiness follows rocket attacks on Be'er Sheva and Netivot. Gaza terrorists targeted both cities in recent weeks for the first time since the Cast Lead counterterror operation of early 2009, which crippled Hamas' weapons stores, rocket factories and infrastructure.

The Defense Ministry has touted Iron Dome as a solution to terrorist attacks from Gaza. However, the system can only successfully target rockets with a flight time of approximately 15 seconds or more, while Gaza terrorists can hit several Israeli communities with rockets that have a shorter flight time, including the city of Sderot.

In addition, each Iron Dome missile costs approximately $100,000, far more than the average short-range Kassam rocket preferred by Gaza terrorists. Military analyst Reuven Pedatzur, a critic of the system, said last year, “All the Palestinians would need to do is build and launch a ton of rockets and hit our pocketbook.”

Iron Dome was previously rumored to be near deployment in early 2010.