Defense Ministry tests 'upgraded' Iron Dome

Upgrades designed to give the rocket defense system "improved capabilities against an unprecedented range of threats."

Iron Dome battery. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
Iron Dome battery.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
The Defense Ministry is holding a series of tests of an upgraded version of the Iron Dome rocket defense system, together with manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense systems.
The upgrades are designed to give the Iron Dome “improved capabilities against an unprecedented range of threats,” the Defense Ministry said on Monday. “The test, which was completed successfully, will lead to an upgrade in Iron Dome’s operational capabilities.”
One improved Iron Dome battery, which is capable of intercepting projectiles with a longer range, was deployed in the midst of Operation Pillar of Defense in November to defend the greater Tel Aviv area. It shot down several mediumrange Iranian-made Fajr 5 rockets fired by terrorists from Gaza at central Israel.
The Air Force deployed five Iron Dome batteries during the Gaza conflict, which succeeded in intercepting more than 90 percent of Palestinian rockets heading towards city centers.
Typically, two interceptors are fired at every incoming threat, though if one interceptor carries out the task successfully, the second is sent to an open area to self destruct.
Last year, Israel and the US carried out tests on the David’s Sling defense system, designed to stop medium- range rockets and cruise missiles, bringing the country a step closer to having an active defense shield against Hezbollah’s arsenal of projectiles.
In the test, a David’s Sling battery stationed in the South fired a two-stage interceptor missile and stopped an incoming missile.
The system is designed to fill the gap between Iron Dome’s short-range protection and the Arrow 2 longrange ballistic missile defense program.
Defense planners estimate that David’s Sling will become operational in 2014. The Arrow 3 system, which is still in development, will be able to intercept ballistic missiles in space after it becomes operational.