Iron Dome 311 R.
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS / Reuters)
Israel will deploy a new battery of the Iron Dome counter-rocket defense system
outside the city of Ashdod next week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on
RELATED:Dispute leaves soldiers without missile defenseIAF ramps up drills against missile attack
Barak, who visited the headquarters of Elta Systems, which
manufactures the Iron Dome’s radar, said that the third battery was scheduled to
become operational within 10 days and would be immediately deployed in southern
Israel, which has been pounded by over 160 rockets from the Gaza Strip in recent
Israel currently has two batteries stationed in the South – one
outside of Ashkelon, and one near Beersheba – which successfully intercepted a
few dozen rockets during the recent escalation.
“We plan to move the Iron
Dome forward and within 10 days we will have a third battery which will be able
to protect over Ashdod in addition to Ashkelon and Beersheba, if there is
another escalation,” Barak said.
By the end of 2012, Barak said that
Israel would have nine operational Iron Dome batteries including thousands of
Tamir interceptors. Each interceptor costs around $50,000 and usually two are
fired at rockets slated for interception.
“This is something that
completely changes the way we protect our citizens, who still need standard
shelters, but will also increase the government’s operational freedom in the
future,” he said.
Earlier this year, the Obama Administration gave Israel
$205 million to purchase four more Iron Dome batteries. Each battery consists of
three launchers equipped with 20 Tamir interceptors and is reportedly capable of
protecting an urban area of approximately 150-square kilometers.