The Israeli military has added another Iron Dome battery to its arsenal of anti-missile defense systems.
A fifth unit, one deployed for emergency use in central Israel during the IDF’s counter terror Operation Pillar of Defense in November, has just become fully operational.
The unit has been assigned to the Israel Air Force for combat conditions together with the necessary military personnel and commanding officers, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Office.
Two other Iron Dome units are also deployed in northern Israel, where the IDF is currently maintaining an operational alert pending any enemy missile activity.
Israel has been particularly watchful of the northern border with Syria in the Golan Heights, where there has been occasional "spillover" from the savage civil war raging between troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and fragmented opposition forces.
The system, produced by Rafael, detects and identifies rockets and artillery shells as they are launched, and monitors their trajectories. The target data is transmitted to a battle management and weapon control (BMC) instrument for analysis and the expected impact point is estimated, allowing military personnel to determine whether it poses a critical threat.
If so, an interceptor missile is launched within seconds against the threat, guided by a radar seeker that allows it to acquire the target with a special warhead that detonates the threat over a neutral area, reducing damage to the protected region.
The Iron Dome is a mobile unit and is used to counter short-range rockets and 155mm artillery shells within ranges of up to 70 kilometers (43 miles) in all weather conditions, including low clouds, rain, dust storms or fog.