Israel's Iron Dome CRAM launcher

The Israeli Air Force is seeking new technology for its Iron Dome counter rocket defence systems to enhance its capability to intercept longer-range rockets at its borders, using fewer batteries.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) is considering two alternatives, system technological upgrades and modifications to the Air Force’s operational doctrine.

Designed to provide protection against short-range rockets, Iron Dome is capable of countering 155mm artillery shell threats in all weather conditions and can handle multiple threats simultaneously.

Iron Dome, built by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, can track threats at a range of up to 70km.

The air defence system has recently undergone a series of tests, validating its ability to intercept longer-range rockets.

IDF has deployed four Iron Dome batteries to date, of which two are operational at Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva and have reportedly intercepted rockets fired from Gaza in March and April 2011, respectively.

The systems form part of an ambitious multi-layered defence programme intended to safeguard Israel against ballistic missile threats.

Israel is expected to receive a total of nine batteries within the next two years for deployment along its northern and southern borders.
The US Army is likely to purchase Israel’s Iron Dome anti-rocket system for deployment outside forward bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to defend against attacks from 107mm Katyushas rockets.

Image: An Israeli Iron Dome CRAM launcher at Sderot, Israel. Photo: courtesy of NatanFlayer.