Israel inched a step closer on Wednesday to deploying the Iron Dome missile defense system along the border with the Gaza Strip after it successfully intercepted a number of missile barrages in tests held in southern Israel this week. The tests were overseen by the Defense Ministry, the Israel Air Force and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., which developed the Iron Dome, slated to become operational and be deployed along the Gaza border in mid-2010. The missile volleys which the system succeeded in intercepting included a number of rockets that mimicked Kassam and longer range Grad-model Katyusha rockets that are known to be in Hamas's arsenal. The Iron Dome is supposed to be capable of intercepting all short-range rockets fired by Hamas in the Gaza Strip and by Hizbullah in Southern Lebanon. The system uses an advanced radar made by Elta that locates and tracks the rocket, which is then intercepted by a kinetic missile interceptor. During the test, the radar succeeded in detecting which rockets were headed towards designated open fields and therefore did not launch an interceptor to destroy them. The IDF has formed a new battalion that will be part of the IAF's Air Defense Division and will operate the Iron Dome. Prototypes have been supplied to the new unit, which has already begun training with the systems. The IDF has also located positions along the Gaza border to be used as bases for the system, which includes a launcher and radar system. After completing the deployment of the system along the Gaza border, the IDF will begin deploying the system along the northern border with Lebanon. Defense Ministry Dir.-Gen. Pinhas Buchris said it would eventually "transform security for residents of southern and northern Israel." "The defense establishment continues to be committed to do everything it can to provide all residents of Israel with a multi-layered defense against missiles and rockets," he added.