from the June 2011 issue

Iron Dome ko's grad

During the 2006 Second Lebanon approximately 4,000 Hezbollah-fired rockets, the great majority of which were short-range rockets and artillery shells. Most all of the rockets fired were Qassams but Hamas has expanded their range by introducing 122 mm Grad launchers smuggled into the Gaza Strip. Nearly 1,000,000 Israelis living in the south are within rocket range, posing a serious security threat to the country and its citizens.

As a response to this threat Rafael Advanced Defense Systems developed the Iron Dome designed to intercept incoming rockets. The system was designed as a defensive countermeasure to the rocket threat against Israel' civilian population in its northern and southern borders. It is designed to intercept very short-range threats of up to 70- kilometers, in all weather conditions. On March 27, 2011 the system became operational for the first time. On April 7 the system proved its worthiness when it intercepted, for the first time, a Grad rocket fired from Gaza.

Following a successful deployment against a rash of rocket fire in early April, Israel is investing $1 billion in the development and production of batteries for its Iron Dome interception system. According to Defense News, Israeli Major General Udi Shani said that five countries are interested in the technology.

On top of the $1 billion, the systems developers, Haifa-based Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, will also receive $205 million from the United States. The period of time over which this investment will be spread has not been announced.

The first of its kind, the system targets artillery shells as well as rockets, and was successfully deployed in two separate rocket attacks recently fired at Israel from Gaza.

Iron Dome is the localized portion of a three-tier protection system along with Arrow, which covers long-range ballistic missiles - and David's Sling, medium-range missiles.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report June 2011

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