Third Iron Dome battery to be deployed near Ashdod

Barak says counter-rocket defense system to be deployed in South which has been pounded by over 160 rockets from Gaza in recent weeks.

Iron Dome 311 R (photo credit: NIR ELIAS / Reuters)
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 Monday.
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 weeks.
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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.
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