Iron Dome is an effective, all-weather, multi-mission, mobile air defence system developed by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems. The system is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells threats from distances of 4 kilometres to 70 kilometres away. It can be operated in all weather conditions including fog, dust storm, low clouds and rain. The system can intercept more than 2500 incoming targets with a success rate of over 90%. It can also adapt to rapidly evolving threats and handle multiple threats at the same time.
Iron Dome was declared operational and initially deployed on 27 March 2011 near Beersheba city of southern Israel. On 7 April 2011, the system successfully intercepted a BM-21 Grad launched from Gaza for the first time. On 10 March 2012. The Jerusalem Post reported that the system shot down 90% of rockets launched from Gaza that would have landed in populated areas.
Iron Dome protects the population and critical assets that can be strategically placed to reduce collateral damage.
Iron Dome detects, analyses and intercepts a range of incoming threats, including C-RAM, precise guided missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and air-breathing threats.
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 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. The radar system has been developed by Israeli defence company Elta.
It is capable of being used in all weather conditions, including during the day and night.
I-DOME is a mobile version of the system, which can be deployed on a single truck, while C-DOME is a naval version.
The Iron Dome air defence system is being used to intercept and shoot down hundreds of rockets from Gaza as the latest round of escalations between Israel and Palestine in May 2021. According to the Israeli Defence Force, Iron Dome had shot down 85-90% of incoming rockets that were projected to land within populated areas on 12 May 2021.