Israel inched a step closer recently to deploying a missile defense system along the border with the Gaza Strip after the Iron Dome system successfully intercepted a number of missile barrages in tests.The tests were overseen by the Defense Ministry, the Israel Air Force and the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. which developed the Iron Dome, slated to be declared operational in the near future.RELATED:US approves $205m. for Iron DomeIAF simulates integrated missile defenseThe missile barrages that the system succeeded in intercepting included a number of rockets that mimicked Kassam and longer-range Gradmodel Katyusha rockets that are known to be in Hamas’s arsenal.The Iron Dome is supposed to be capable of intercepting all of the short-range rockets in fired by Hamas in the Gaza Strip and by Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. The Iron Dome 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 coordinates that were designated as open fields and therefore did not launch an interceptor to destroy them.The IDF has already established a new battalion that will be part of the IAF’s Air Defense Division and will operate the Iron Dome. Prototypes of the Iron Dome have already been supplied to the new battalion, which has commenced training with the systems. The IDF has also located positions along the Gaza border that will be used as bases for the system.The army is now debating whether to immediately deploy the system along one of Israel’s volatile borders, likely with the Gaza Strip, or to store the system in an IAF base and deploy it according to operational requirements.