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The Watercooler ~ Israel’s Iron Dome Protects Her from Hamas Rockets

Air defense system intercepts rockets midair

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) says that Hamas militants have launched at least 1,000 rockets at Israeli cities in the last six days. In a bid to halt such attacks, Israel launched “Operation Protective Edge,” and thanks largely to Israel’s Iron Dome, no Israeli fatalities have been reported. Today’s Watercooler is a brief lesson on how the Iron Dome works and why it is so successful.

Just what is the Iron Dome and how does it work?

The Iron Dome is an Israeli air defense and a short-range defense system designed to destroy enemy rockets, mortars, and artillery shells.

Each Iron Dome battery is comprised of interceptors (Tamir), radars, and command and control systems. The system shoots down incoming rockets mid-air before they hit the target. The system only intercepts rockets that would hit targets of value (population centers, military facilities, etc.). This allows the system to preserve interceptors and save more resources than if it were shooting down every single rocket. In April 2011, the Israelis found out that they needed to launch an interceptor against only about 20 percent of the rockets launched by Hamas.

The Iron Dome is deployed close to population centers. It is mobile so it can be deployed to different parts of the country depending on where the threat is coming from. Once radars get information about incoming rockets, the interceptors are fired in a manner that increases the probability of the intercept.

Not only has the Iron Dome been successful at intercepting 90 percent of the rockets that it engages, its use has deprived Israel’s detractors and enemies — Hamas and Hezbollah — of accusing Israel of being the aggressor in the middle of the conflict. Not that they still won’t try to make the accusation. But, what else is new?

The Watercooler is always an open thread.

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