IDF downplays expectations from Iron Dome deployment

Counter-rocket defense system to be deployed this week in an "operational test;" IAF prepared for possibility it will not work.

March 27, 2011 01:19
1 minute read.
THE IRON DOME system is designed to intercept shortrange rockets fired by Hamas from the Gaza Strip

Iron Dome 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The IDF will deploy the Iron Dome counter-rocket defense system outside major Israeli cities this week amid increased rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

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 missile fire.

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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 requirements.

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 recent weeks.

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.

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