PM says Iron Dome won't provide complete protection
LAST UPDATED: 03/27/2011 12:27
Counter-rocket defense system to be deployed near Beersheba; IAF prepared for possibility it won't work.
Binyamin Netanyahu tried to lower expectations about the Iron Dome
system Sunday, telling the cabinet that the system could not protect
every house, school and army base in the country.
been under the threat of missile attack for 20 years, since the first
Gulf War. I don't want to create the illusion that Iron Dome, which we
are setting up for the first time today, will prove a full or
comprehensive answer," he said.
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said that the Iron Dome system was still in its experimental stages.
The true answer to the missile attacks he said was a combination of
deterrence, preventive measures and the resilience of the government and
In any event, Netanyahu said, Israel holds Hamas as responsible for anything that is fired from the Gaza Strip.
Gavish , commander of the IAF Air Defense Division echoed the prime ministers sentiments, saying "the iron dome can provide good but not hermetic protection," as
soldiers began deploying the first battery of the system outside of
"The protection provided to the city is good, but this is still operational test stage and it is not hermetic, " Gavish told reporters at the site of the battery near Beersheba.
Gavish said that the deployment of the Iron Dome was part of the IDF's wider strategy of using offensive as well as passive defensive means to combat Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza.
He said that despite the Iron Dome deployment, the public must continue to listen to the Home Front Command's instructions regarding what to do in the event of a missile attack.
Gavish said that the battery would be mobile, moving according to operational requirements and the decision to launch interceptors or not would be taken by commanders in real time at the battery.
"Our job is to give decision makers flexibility and therefore we are deploying in different places so at the end of the process they will be able to decide where is best to deploy," Gavish said.
There had been some hesitancy in the defense establishment about the deployment of the Iron Dome outside of Israeli cities. Some officials believed the system should be deployed outside of bases to provide the IAF with protection in the event of a larger conflict and allow for continued operations in the event of an attack.
The IAF Air Defense Division will complete the deployment of the
first battery in the beginning of the week and the second battery towards the
end of the week. The decision to deploy the system was made by Defense Minister
Ehud Barak, who came under pressure from residents of the South who are under
The first battery will be deployed near Beersheba and the
second battery near Ashkelon. IDF sources said, however, that the batteries were
mobile and could be moved to other parts of the South per operational
Iron Dome is designed to defend against rockets at a range
of 4-70 km. Each battery consists of a multi-mission radar manufactured by
Israel Aerospace Industries and three launchers, each equipped with 20
interceptors named Tamir.
The system has undergone a series of tests in
The IDF stressed that the deployment was part of what it
called an “operational test” and that the Air Defense Division was prepared for
the possibility that the Iron Dome will not work as expected.