From Dr Hamid Hussain.
19 November 2023
Conversations about Israeli missile defense, its role in bigger picture of conflict & US assistance in this field resulted in this summary for those interested in the subject.
Protective Umbrella – Israel’s Missile Defense System
“The quality of our lives depends not on whether or not we have conflicts, but on how we respond to them.”
Israel has a multi-layered missile defense system to counter rockets, artillery, missiles, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Israel‘s national missile defense program is called Homa (Hebrew for Fortress Wall). Homa is a layered, active defense system. The bottom layer is Iron Dome that intercepts short-range surface-to-surface rockets, middle layer is David’s Sling that intercepts short to medium and medium to long range surface-to-surface missiles and upper layer is Arrow-2 (upper-atmospheric) that intercepts medium to long range missiles and Arrow-3 (exo-atmospheric) that intercepts long-range missiles. Israel also has 4-6 Patriot batteries (known in Israel by Hebrew name Yahalom meaning diamond), Israel’s Missile Defense Organization (IMDO), established in 1991 is responsible for the development, management and improvement of Israel’s active defense systems including radars, command and control systems, network connectivity, launchers, and interceptors.
Peace treaties with neighboring Egypt and Jordan improved Israel’s defense. Initial threat perception consisted of medium and long-range missiles from hostile states especially Iraq, Iran, and Syria. In 1998, the first Arrow-2 system was transferred to the Israeli Air Force (IAF) to counter this threat. In 2000s, use of small range rockets by Hezbollah and Hamas created a new challenge as long-range Arrow-2 system was not effective against these small projectiles. After the 2006, Israel-Hezbollah war, research, and development to counter this new challenge resulted in development of Iron Dome system with intercept range of 2.5 to 43 miles. Iron Dome became operational in March 2011 and within few days intercepted a Grad rocket fired from the Gaza Strip at the Israeli city of Ashkelon.
Iron Dome system has three components. The Multi Mission Radar (MMR) detects the rocket’s routes and sends the information to the command-and-control center that analyzes the trajectory of rockets and their estimated landing area. If the landing area of the rocket is uninhabited, no action is taken. If the landing area is a military structure or civilian inhabited area, then command and control unit send the order to launcher to fire interceptor missile that explodes close to the rocket to disintegrate it and avoid damage from large debris. Currently, Israel has ten Iron Dome batteries deployed throughout the country, and each battery is designed to defend a sixty square mile populated area. Each battery has three to four launchers loaded with up to 20 Tamir interceptors per launcher for a total of 60-80 interceptors per battery. Each Iron Dome battery costs about $100 million and the cost of each Tamir interceptor missile is $40’000. Continue reading Israel’s Missile Defense