The army’s ship-mounted Iron Dome system was declared operational Monday evening, the IDF spokesperson’s unit announced.
The Tamir-Adir system was declared operational after a final test in which Grad rockets were fired, both individually and in barrages, at the INS Lahav Sa’ar 5-class corvette small warship, as well as towards Israel’s offshore gas rigs, scenarios envisioned in future conflicts with Hamas or Hezbollah.
During the test the navy took an Iron Dome launcher and placed it on the deck of the ship and connected it to the ship’s radar. The naval Iron Dome uses the Tamir interceptor missile which was developed for the Iron Dome as well as for the Adir radar used in the Arrow system.
In the trial all of the rockets fired were intercepted by the system.
Designed to shoot down short-range rockets, the Iron Dome is able to calculate when rockets will land in open areas, choosing not to intercept them, or towards civilian centers. It went into service in April 2011 and has since been used during two military operations against Hamas, intercepting roughly 85% of projectiles fired towards Israeli civilian centers.
Zionist Union MK Amir Peretz, who as defense minister in 2006 insisted on developing the Iron Dome system following the Second Lebanon War – when the Israeli home front was pounded by Hezbollah rockets – praised the defense industry teams that developed the system as well as the IDF commanders and soldiers who operate it.
“The threat to the home front is and will be a central part of any military campaign in the 21st century, whether against foreign armies or terrorist organizations,” he said.
The IDF believes that Hezbollah has long-range missiles which can hit the country’s gas rigs, which supply the gas that produces a large amount of the electricity consumed in Israel. And while the threat posed by Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border remains the main focus of the Navy and the IDF in general, the threat on Israel’s border with Gaza remains just as real.
During Operation Protective Edge in 2014 there were attempts by Hamas to hit a drilling platform, but the projectile was not precise enough to strike it.
The IDF has decided not to place Iron Dome batteries on gas rigs themselves for safety reasons, for example so that a fire wouldn’t break out on one of the rigs.
Israel, which is highly dependent on the sea, continuously improves the technology behind its anti-missile systems.
The last upgrade to the Iron Dome was in April in order to expand and improve the performance capabilities of the system in the face of an unprecedented range of threats.
Due to the growing danger posed by the arsenal of Grad rockets and other more accurate long-range projectiles in the hands of terror groups, the Navy has changed the design of its next-generation Sa’ar 6 corvette warships that are currently being manufactured in Germany; they will be already equipped with the naval Iron Dome short-range defense missile launchers.