The Iron Dome, developed by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, was recently voted Israel’s top innovation of all time. It ranked ahead of traffic app Waze and the drip irrigation system in a competition run by the Ministry of Economy for Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebrations. FINN interviewed Rafael’s Sachar Shohat to find out more about the company’s missile defence systems.
Iron Dome is a missile and rocket interception system. Since its deployment in 2011, it has intercepted more than 1,700 missiles and rockets fired at Israel. Rafael reports that the system had a 90% success rate in the 2014 Gaza war.
Shohat, deputy general manager, Air Superiority Systems Division, calls Rafael’s approach a “multilayer concept” of defending from “the very lower layer beneath the ground” using a system like the Iron Dome, to Drone Dome, which protects against this emerging threat.
He explains: “First, we have the detection phase by the radar. Then, all the data is gathered in the command and control shelters to calculate a defence plan. After that, there is a missile away, which is capable of intercepting rockets, artillery, mortars, air breathing targets, fighter jet, helicopters, UAVs, and so on.”
Shohat says: “Basically, the Iron Dome system was a game-changer in the arena because before that, we didn’t have any capability to defend the military forces and, of course, the civilian forces that were threatened by the terror organisation from the southern part of Israel and from the northern part of Israel.
“We could give the civilian population [more of a] normal life and, of course, we gave the armed forces the capability to continue the fight not under continuous attack.”
The equipment is now available to other nations.
Shohat comments: “After the campaign in 2012 and 2014, and the successful operational performance of the system, a lot of countries [want to] understand how this ‘miracle’ works.
“A lot of countries that have been threatened … in the region of Asia are interested, and some of them [have the] system already.”