The high-tech Israeli missile shield that has enabled it to endure a withering barrage of hundreds of rockets and Iranian-made Fajr missiles relies on a sophisticated “layered defense.” Experts say it will play a key role in protecting civilians, if hostilities with Iran break out in coming months.
Newsmax magazine recently won a Charlie Award from the Florida Magazine Association for its exclusive, detailed graphic depicting the inside story of how the missile defense, commonly called “Iron Dome,” keeps Israel safe. The multi-tiered defense means that an incoming missile would have to defeat several anti-missiles systems, at various ranges, in order to reach its target.
Any rocket launch against Israel is immediately detected by Israel’s surveillance network of satellites, drones, and ground radar. Speed is critical, because it only takes about 30 seconds for a rocket launched from Gaza to strike Ashkelon, a city of over 110,000. But the missile-shield only attempts to intercept an incoming missile if computers determine it is on target to impact in populated areas.
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The rockets launched from Gaza are being taken out by the Iron Dome missiles, which have a range of about 43 miles. For missiles beyond that range, other weapons kick in, including the Patriot Pac3 missile and the Arrow 2 missile.
These longer range missiles are the ones that would be used to knock down missiles fired by Iran.
Two other missiles under development will soon be added to Israel’s missile shield. David’s Sling, which has a range of up to 217 miles. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has announced it is ready to begin field testing David’s Sling.
Also under development is the Arrow 3. This missile is so advanced it will be able to destroy incoming ballistic weapons outside the Earth’s atmosphere. That way, if the interception failed, the Arrow 2 and other systems would be have time to target the incoming missile.
Some of the weapons raining down on Israeli cities carry a huge wallop: The Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets Hamas has smuggled in from Egypt carry a payload of 400 pounds of high explosive. But thanks to Iron Dome, so far those missiles have yet to strike Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
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