Friday October 9, 2015
Israel Hayom
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Israel's aerial defense shines in Operation Pillar of Defense
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Aharon Lapidot

Iron Dome - the difference maker

There have been over 100 successful rocket interceptions credited to the Iron Dome system in the past 24 hours. It is an incredible achievement by any standard. Just imagine a nightmare scenario in which Israel doesn't possess such a system, and these 100 rockets manage to hit civilian targets in Israel's south. We all witnessed the tragic results of a direct hit by one of these rockets in Kiryat Malachi on Thursday: three dead, seven wounded, and the total destruction of an entire floor.

In order to understand the true scale of Iron Dome's contribution to the battle, one must recognize that it calculates each rocket's trajectory and only intercepts those that will hit a target, as opposed to landing in an open field. Iron Dome is based on an amazing information program, and its mission, called "alert exposure," is meant to settle the most critical question: to shoot down the rocket launched at Israel or not.

The super-sophisticated system is comprised of a vast array of sensors, deployed throughout the country. These sensors send a flow of information to a data processing center (somewhere out there), and based on this information the system determines if the rocket launched at Israel will land in an open area and not cause damage, or if its trajectory will lead it toward a populated area — in which case Iron Dome is activated.

Of course, the system isn't perfect, doesn't provide hermetic protection and isn't immune from missing the target. But these misses are occurring at a negligible rate.

In its protection of the civilian population Iron Dome is playing a dual role: It allows the IDF to continue its attack and meet its objectives without the added pressure of casualties on the homefront. In "Pillar of Defense" Iron Dome has allowed the attacking forces to achieve dramatic successes with its pinpoint airstrikes, which will eventually be studied in fighter pilot school.

With that, and despite the phenomenal achievements, a senior Israel Defense Forces officer warned that we mustn't become too intoxicated by Iron Dome's success. "If we get too satisfied with ourselves," he said, "we could become complacent, and that is already a recipe for certain failure."

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