Israel’s Iron Dome defence in its infancy

The initial success of Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defence system has been hailed as an example of “Jewish genius”, but the army insists it is still at an experimental stage.

Since April 7, it has shot down nine rockets fired at Israel from Gaza, although it was unable to stop at least 11 others.

Boaz Ganor, the director of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism said: “It’s a technical revolution that shows us what may be possible. Success has been limited by the fact that we have only two batteries, but it has proven itself accurate and efficient.”

The Iron Dome consists of three units: a missile-tracking radar, a control centre and a missile-firing unit. The moment a rocket is launched, its trajectory is relayed to the control centre, which decides whether it will land in an open or built-up area. If the rocket threatens a densely populated area, a missile is fired at it.

The world first became aware of the possibilities of missile defence during the Gulf War in 1991. US Patriot missile batteries in Israel and Saudi Arabia appeared to be successful in eliminating scud missiles fired by Iraq. In fact, subsequent analysis estimated the success rate was only about 10%.

Israel has long been the target of short-range rockets such as the Russian-designed Katyusha, supplied to Palestinian groups in Jordan and Lebanon in the 1970s and 1980s. More recently, Hezbollah fired about 4 000 rockets at Israel in the 2006 Lebanon war, killing 44.

Israel developed the Arrow long-range missile-defence system, but after its experience in 2006 it switched to the Iron Dome system. The cost is estimated at more than £1-billion, some of which will be subsidised by the US.

Critics point out that each Iron Dome missile costs about £25 000, while the rockets they eliminate are worth less than a few hundred, which could allow militants to wage economic warfare against Israel. Others suggest it would be easy to fool missile-defence systems with decoys. — Guardian News & Media 2011

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.


To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Two dead in new ANC KwaZulu-Natal killings

A Mtubatuba councillor and a Hammarsdale ANC Youth League leader were shot yesterday near their homes

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it
Advertising

Press Releases

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations