Israel successfully tests upgraded laser-based Iron Dome air defense system

The Iron Dome has been sold to four countries following its success in 2011

Israel has successfully tested its upgraded laser-based air defense system. The ministry of defense tweeted that the Israel Missile Defense Organization completed a series of tests for the Iron Dome's new upgrades. The tests were conducted exactly a decade after the system's first successful test.

The success came after decades of struggle to perfect the Iron Dome. The ministry described the tests as "complex". According to Moshe Patael, chief of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, the present tests pertained to the upgraded and improved air defense systems.

Iron Dome Battery
Pictured here is the Iron Dome battery in Ashkelon which intercepted approximately 8 rockets and Grad missiles launched from the Gaza Strip since its deployment on April 4th. The Iron Dome system intercepts short-range missiles with a minimal range of 5 km and a maximum of 70 km. Wikimedia Commons- Israel Defense Forces

US procurement of Iron Dome

The system was able to intercept all threats presented to it during the tests. The system can intercept mortar fire, drones, medium range Grad rockets, anti-tank missiles as well as long-range missiles. Israel has enemy territories in Lebanon, the Gaza strip and Syria, which are backed by Iran-backed terror groups. The laser for the system was developed by the government-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elbit Systems.

Dubi Oster, the head of Optoelectronics at the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, said the country was close to developing a weapons system that didn't have any flying metal included in it.

Israel's missile defense system not only includes the Iron Dome but also David's Sling, a medium to long-range missile defense system, and the long-range Arrow-3 and Arrow-2 systems. The defense ministry said the Iron Dome had made 2,400 successful interceptions since it started operating in the year 2011. The Iron Dome is part of the country's multi-layer defense doctrine.

Several countries procured the Iron Dome after the high number of success rates it notched up, including India, the US, Azerbaijan and Romania

The change into a direct energy weapon

Israel is applying laser technology to the present upgrades in Iron Dome which can be used to intercept missiles or target personnel. It can be used to protect the country's military personnel on ground while entering a hostile territory as well. The interception is cheaper than what it was before. But the interception can be affected by weather conditions or the reflective surface of the missile.

This article was first published on January 13, 2020