Context: Rockets fired from Gaza being intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome air defence system.

More in the News:

  • Israel and Palestine’s conflict have escalated to airstrikes and rocket attacks.
  • Israeli Iron Dome air defence system appeared that the rockets were hitting an invisible shield.

Related Facts:

Iron Dome:

  • The genesis of the Iron Dome goes back to the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon war when Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets into Israel. 
  • It was developed with Israel Aerospace Industries.
  • The Iron Dome was deployed in 2011.
  • It is a short-range, ground-to-air, air defence system that includes radar and Tamir interceptor missiles that track and neutralise any rockets or missiles aimed at Israeli targets. 
  • It is used for countering rockets, artillery & mortars (C-RAM) as well as aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • The success rate of over 90%, with more than 2,000 interceptions.
  • Working:
    • It has three main systems that work together to provide a shield over the area where it is deployed, handling multiple threats.
      • It has detection and tracking radar to spot any incoming threats, 
      • A battle management and weapon control system (BMC), and 
      • A missile firing unit. 
      • The BMC basically liaises between the radar and the interceptor missile.
    • It is capable of being used in all weather conditions, including during the day and night.
    • It is impossible to hit the target each time so each interceptor missiles has a proximity fuse which is the laser-controlled fuse.
      • When passing within 10 m of the target missile this activates and blast the missile with shrapnel that destroys the target.
    • Warheads are destroyed in such a way it caters for the velocity of the missile and the target.
  • Cost:
    • Each full unit can cost over $50 million, and one interceptor Tamir missile cost around $80,000.
    • Rocket can cost less than $1000.
    • The system dispatches two Tamir missiles to intercept each threat.

Does India have such a defence?

  • Israel has to master this defence because of the threat around them and they work very close with the Americans.
  • India is in the process of buying S-400 air defence systems from Russia for over $5 billion.
    • S-400 also caters to the three threat (rockets, missiles and cruise missiles) as well as it can take down fighter aircraft as well.
    • It has a longer range of around 300-400 km.
    • It creates a much larger air bubble/dome to knock off.
  • At the moment India has Akash (Short-range surface-to-air missile) and a Russian system including the Pechora. All being gradually replaced with more advanced systems.
  • India is buying two National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II from the US to protect Delhi.

Source: The Indian Express