A confrontation between Israel and Hamas sparked by weeks of tensions in contested Jerusalem escalated Tuesday as Israel unleashed new airstrikes on Gaza while militants barraged Israel with hundreds of rockets.
The exchange killed a number of militants and civilians in Gaza and at least two Israelis.
The Iron Dome missile systems which has defended Israeli airspace from a barrage of rockets propelled by Hamas and Palestinian security forces is being talked about globally and several videos have gone viral on social media.
Days after the violent conflict between Israel and Palestine turned into a full-blown confrontation with massive airstrikes and rockets being propelled from both sides, what has emerged as one of the biggest attractions is the Iron Dome missile system.
At the centre of the violent confrontation is the Al-Aqsa mosque considered to be the third holiest site in Islam but hold equal importance for jews, who call it Temple Mount.
According to some, Hamas’ strategy is to overwhelm the air defense systems of Israel since many believe that neither Israel nor Hamas are financing their missiles and rockets.
“You now have a nonstate actor that manages to strike targets in Tel Aviv using means that they produce themselves,” Fabian Hinz, an independent open-source intelligence analyst who specializes in Middle East missiles told the Washington Post. He was cited by the paper as saying that Hamas has acquired some of the rockets from abroad, including Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets from Iran and M302 rockets from Syria, but the group is now capable of producing rockets domestically with ranges of almost 100 miles, technically putting most of Israel within range.
The Iron Dome is a short-range ground-to-air missile defense system that comprises of a Tamir interceptor and a radar that tracks and destroys any missile or airborne system that enters Israeli airspace. The system is used by Tel-Aviv in countering, rockets, missile launchers, artillery, and mortars from enemy targets. The system can equally intercept unwanted helicopters, aircraft, or UAVs that enter the airspace without permission.
The Iron Dome was deployed in 2011 nearly six years after it was first announced by the Israeli government following the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon war during which Hezbollah had fired thousands of rockets into Israel.
According to Rafale Advanced Defence Systems, which developed the Iron Dome jointly with Israel Aerospace Industries, “Iron Dome is a multi-purpose combat-proven system that detects, assesses and intercepts incoming artillery such as C-RAM, cruise missiles, precise guided missiles (PGM), UAVs, Air Breathing Threats (ABTs) and dense salvos.”
The Iron Dome is capable of intercepting artillery, Chinese Weishi rockets family such as A300, Russian BM-BM-30 Smerch, 9K58 Smerch or 9A52-2 Smerch-M and Belarusian Polonez Rockets.
The Iron Dome family
Apart from intercepting incoming air salvos, the Iron Dome also has I-Dome, an all-in-one mobile version, on a single truck, providing protection for motorised or mechanised troops, as well as point air defense for military, industrial and administrative installations. Meanwhile, its naval version C-Dome protects ships and other sea-based strategic assets.
Rafale has claimed a 95% success rate with over 2000 rockets interceptions with all-weather capability and functioning both day and night. Meanwhile, Sky Hunter is the US version of the Iron Dome system which has been developed jointly by Raytheon and Rafael.
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