IDF: Gaza rocket fire may increase with Iron Dome

Officials predict that Hamas will try to test the missile defense system that will be installed along the Gaza Strip periphery,

Iron Dome 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Iron Dome 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The IDF is preparing for the possibility that the scheduled deployment of the Iron Dome missile defense system along the Gaza Strip periphery in the coming months will increase the rate of rocket attacks against Israel, senior defense officials said on Sunday.
The Iron Dome was delivered earlier this month to an Air Force base near Gedera, where the IAF Air Defense Division will establish the headquarters for the new defense system, which is designed to defend against rockets at a range of 4- 70 kilometers.
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Each battery consists of a multi-mission radar (MMR) manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries and three launchers, each with 20 interceptors capable of protecting an area of approximately 150 sq. km. from rockets.
“It is possible that once the defense system is deployed along the Gaza Strip, Hamas and other organizations will increase their rocket fire to test the system and prove that it is ineffective,” one official said.
The Iron Dome passed a series of tests in June and successfully intercepted a number of 122-mm. Grad-type Katyusha rockets. The system stationed in the base is currently being used by the Air Defense Division for training ahead of the planned declaration of full operational capacity in November.
The IDF has also located positions along the Gaza border that will be used by the system, which includes a launcher, radar and command post.
One option is to immediately deploy the system in the field along one of Israel’s volatile borders, likely with the Gaza Strip from where rockets are occasionally fired on Israeli towns. The other option is to store the system in the Air Force base and deploy it according to operational requirements.