From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Iron Dome
Mains level : Paper 3- Iron Dome rocket defence system
- Amid the Israel-Palestine conflict, the night sky over Israel has been ablaze with interceptor missiles from Iron Dome shooting down the incoming rockets in the sky.
What is Iron Dome?
- Iron Dome is a multi-mission system capable of intercepting rockets, artillery, mortars and Precision Guided Munitions as well as aircraft, helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) over short ranges of up to 70 km.
- It is an all-weather system and can engage multiple targets simultaneously and can be deployed over land and sea.
- Iron Dome is jointly manufactured by Rafael Advanced Systems and has been in service with Israeli Air Force since 2011.
- The radar system was developed by Elta.
Working of Iron Dome
- An Iron Dome battery consists of a battle management control unit, a detection and tracking radar and a firing unit of three vertical launchers, with 20 interceptor missiles each.
- The interceptor missile uses a proximity fuse to detonate the target warhead in the air.
- One of the system’s important advantages is its ability to identify the anticipated point of impact of the threatening rocket, to calculate whether it will fall in a built-up area or not, and to decide on this basis whether or not to engage it.
- This prevents unnecessary interception of rockets that will fall in open areas and thus not cause damage, the paper states.
- The system has intercepted thousands of rockets so far and, according to Rafael Advanced Systems, its success rate is over 90%.
Limitations of the system
- The system can see limitations when it is overwhelmed with a barrage of projectiles.
- The system has a ‘saturation point’.
- It is capable of engaging a certain number of targets at the same time, and no more.
- One of the possible limitations is the system’s inability to cope with very short range threats as estimates put the Iron Dome’s minimum interception range at 5-7 kilometres.