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'Iron Dome' Stopped Crop Dusting

IAF's anti-missile system, UAVs and firefighting planes create headache for Civil Aviation Authority.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 11/10/2011, 6:34 PM

Iron Dome
Iron Dome
Flash 90
"The Civilian Aviation Authority (CAA) has to deal with the ramifications of [IAF anti-missile system] Iron Dome," CAA Director Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Rom said Wednesday. Because Iron Dome's range of coverage creates a danger zone for civilian planes, "we had to stop crop dusting flights in the South," he added. 

"This could have led to the destruction of hundreds of thousands of dunams of agricultural fields," Rom said. Apparently, the CAA and IAF cooperated in finding a way of solving the problem, letting the crop dusters operate -- without setting off Iron Dome and causing it to shoot them down. Rom may not have wanted to give details of the solution so as not to compromise security.  

He spoke at the Fisher Institute's Fourth Civilian Aviation Conference in Herzliya.

The IAF's newly created firefighting squadron and the IAF's unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) also force the CAA to work extra hours and demand special alertness by the flight inspectors.

Airports Authority Director Kobi Mor said Israel lacks large airfields. "If the large IAF bases prove problematic," he added, "we will consider building an artificial island at sea. As of now, it is not easy to get work permits for these plans but we are always keeping them in mind."