Daily Editorial Analysis for 13th May 2021

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How Israel’s Iron Dome intercepts rockets

Why in News

  • In the conflict between Israel and Palestine, both sides have taken to air strikes and rocket attacks.
  • A video on social media showed rockets fired from Gaza being intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome air defence system.
  • It appeared that the rockets were hitting an invisible shield.

Iron Dome

  • It is a short-range, ground-to-air, air defence system that includes a radar and Tamir interceptor missiles.
  • It tracks and neutralize 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 genesis of the Iron Dome goes back to the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon war, when the Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets into Israel.
  • The following year, Israel announced that its state-run Rafael Advance Systems would come up with a new air defence system to protect its cities and people.
  • It was developed with Israel Aerospace Industries.
  • The Iron Dome was deployed in 2011. While Rafael claims a success rate of over 90%, with more than 2,000 interceptions, experts agree the success rate is over 80%.
  • Rafael says on its website that it can “protect deployed and maneuvering forces, as well as the Forward Operating Base (FOB) and urban areas, against a wide range of indirect and aerial threats”.

Wok and Effectiveness of Iron Dome

  • The Iron Dome has three main systems that work together to provide a shield over the area where it is deployed, handling multiple threats.
  • It has a 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.
  • In any air defence system there are two main elements. “One is the radar, which should have the capability to see small objects, and to be able to accurately track it.”
  • Once the missile is fired, it “should be able to maneuver, should be able to see the small target on her own and thereafter go and shoot”.
  • But it is impossible to hit the target directly each time, which is why “there is something in each missile called proximity fuse” which is a “laser-controlled fuse”.
  • When passing within ten metros of the target, this activates and blasts the missile with shrapnel that destroys the target.

Kind of systems that does India have

  • Israel, along with the US and Russia, is the leader. “Israel had to master it because of the threat around them and they work very closely with the Americans.”
  • As India is in the process of buying S-400 air defence systems from Russia for over $5 billion, Iron Dome was one of the systems that was being spoken of.
  • While India is continent-sized, Israel is smaller and has to deal with threats that are relatively close around it.
  • S-400 has to cater to shooting down missiles, aircraft in some 300 to 400 km range.” Chopra said the S-400 “has a much larger air defence bubble to knock off threats”.
  • India and Israel have significant cooperation in missiles, including the Baraak-8.


  • At the moment, India has Akash short-range surface-to-air missiles, and Russian systems including Pechora.
  • All are being gradually replaced with more modern systems.
  • India is buying two National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II from the US to protect Delhi.

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