The Israeli defense establishment on Monday announced the successful testing of an upgraded version of the Iron Dome missile defense system.
The tests, according to the Defense Ministry, aimed to broaden and improve Iron Dome’s “capability and performance” to contend with threats. According to Channel 10 TV military reporter Alon Ben-David, Iron Dome intercepted a missile heavier than a Fajr — the type fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip during November’s Operation Pillar of Defense.
The test missile was also fired from a greater distance than its ordinary interception range (the Fajr-5 has a maximum range of 75 kilometers), suggesting that Iron Dome is being upgraded to protect Israeli cities against medium-range missile threats. Iron Dome, according to official literature from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, has a range of 70 kilometers (42 miles).
Together with the David’s Sling medium-range missile defense system, the upgraded Iron Dome will provide Israel with a more comprehensive missile defense capability, military sources said.
Iron Dome was credited with 421 missile interceptions during Pillar of Defense, with an overall success rate of 84%, according to IDF statistics. The system only targets rockets which, based on their trajectory, are set to hit populated areas.