In ‘technological leap,’ Iron Dome tackles multiple complex threats at once

Defense Ministry completes new tests of upgraded system, which is now capable of simultaneously shooting down ‘multiple unmanned aerial vehicles, missile salvoes and rockets’

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has completed a “technological leap” in recent months, with a series of upgrades that have improved its ability to deal with multiple complex threats, the Defense Ministry announced Tuesday.

During recent tests, the Iron Dome “dealt with difficult and complex scenarios, striking down test threats… simultaneously shooting down several unmanned aerial vehicles, missile salvoes and rockets,” according to a Defense Ministry statement.

“Ten years after the first operational use of the Iron Dome, today we are completing a qualitative technological leap in the system’s abilities. In three series of experiments in just a few months, we have upgraded the capacities of the Iron Dome to the next generation of threats,” said Defense Ministry official Moshe Pattal.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz also hailed the successful tests, which were performed in southern Israel by the Defense Ministry’s Missile Defense Organization and defense contractor Rafael.

“The Israeli technological superiority provided by the Iron Dome and the multilayer defense system is a cornerstone of our defense system and Israel’s security. It is critical for the security of our country in the face of changing and diverse threats from our enemies,” said Gantz.

This handout photo provided by the Defense Ministry on March 16, 2021, shows the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepting multiple targets during recent tests. (Defense Ministry)

The upgraded system is set to be integrated into the Israeli Air Force and Israeli Navy, where it is due to be installed on the Israeli Navy’s new Sa’ar-6 corvettes, which are tasked with guarding the natural gas platforms off Israel’s coast as well as its shipping lanes.

The developments followed a pair of similar tests, including one in which the Iron Dome was proven effective against cruise missiles — a major leap forward in the system’s capabilities.

The tests came amid lingering concerns in Israel that Iran, possibly through its Houthi proxy in Yemen, would attempt to attack the Jewish state with armed drones. The Iron Dome has been utilized to neutralize thousands of rockets shot at Israel from Gaza and would be deployed in the event of a conflict between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

This handout photo provided by the Defense Ministry on March 16, 2021, shows the Iron Dome missile defense system firing an interceptor missile during recent tests. (Defense Ministry)

The Israeli Air Force maintains a multi-tiered missile defense system, which is meant to protect the country from aerial threats. The lowest layer of Israel’s multi-tiered missile defense system is the Iron Dome.

The middle tier of the missile defense array is the David’s Sling system, which is designed to shoot down medium-range projectiles. The farthest range systems are the Arrow, designed to intercept large ballistic missiles, and the American-made Patriot system, which is used to shoot down aircraft.

However, even with the full complement of missile defense systems, defense officials warn that they will not offer a hermetic seal in the case of all-out war, and some rockets will inevitably slip past the defenses.

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