The IDF is preparing for the possibility that the scheduled deployment of the
Iron Dome missile defense system along the Gaza Strip periphery in the coming
months will increase the rate of rocket attacks against Israel, senior defense
officials said on Sunday.
The Iron Dome was delivered earlier this month
to an Air Force base near Gedera, where the IAF Air Defense Division will
establish the headquarters for the new defense system, which is designed to
defend against rockets at a range of 4- 70 kilometers.
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consists of a multi-mission radar (MMR) manufactured by Israel Aerospace
Industries and three launchers, each with 20 interceptors capable of protecting
an area of approximately 150 sq. km. from rockets.
“It is possible that
once the defense system is deployed along the Gaza Strip, Hamas and other
organizations will increase their rocket fire to test the system and prove that
it is ineffective,” one official said.
The Iron Dome passed a series of
tests in June and successfully intercepted a number of 122-mm. Grad-type
Katyusha rockets. The system stationed in the base is currently being used by
the Air Defense Division for training ahead of the planned declaration of full
operational capacity in November.
The IDF has also located positions
along the Gaza border that will be used by the system, which includes a
launcher, radar and command post.
One option is to immediately deploy the
system in the field along one of Israel’s volatile borders, likely with the Gaza
Strip from where rockets are occasionally fired on Israeli towns. The other
option is to store the system in the Air Force base and deploy it according to