Israel evaluates upgraded Iron Dome missile system
The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) has successfully completed a series of pre-planned trials of the upgraded Iron Dome anti-rocket defence system.
Conducted at an undisclosed location, the trials validated the enhancements that are expected to expand the system's operational capacity and also boost its capabilities against an unprecedented range of threats in the battlefield.
A statement by the Israeli Ministry of Defence (IMOD) was cited by Israel National News as saying that the system is also scheduled to undergo further testing in order to validate planned software and hardware improvements and several other features in the future.
"We are working on improving the system both in terms of the range Iron Dome covers, and the speed in which it can deflect rockets," the statement elaborated.
"We are also developing methods to deploy Iron Dome against additional threats to Israel."
The upgrade programme will also see integration of the Iron Dome with an advanced variant of the Tamir interceptor missile, which will operate alongside the existing interceptor to improve the system's defence against a wide range of incoming missile and rocket threats.
Developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems with significant funding support from the US, the Iron Dome is a mobile air defence system designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and 155mm artillery shells in all weather conditions.
Equipped with a tracking radar, a battle management and weapons control unit and a missile firing unit, the system can simultaneously intercept multiple threats that are launched from a distance of four to 70km, while it is also effective against aircraft flying at high altitudes.
Five Iron Dome Batteries have been deployed to date by the Israeli Air Force (IAF), while the sixth is currently under development and is expected to become operational in 2013.
Image: An Iron Dome counter-rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) launcher in Sderot, Israel. Photo courtesy of NatanFlayer.