Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has proven itself this week during air strikes from Gaza and has reportedly intercepted more than 150 such rockets.
The missile defense system can identify enemy rockets, determine if they are a threat to populated areas, and destroy them within seconds if they do pose a threat, reports ABC News.
Israel’s leaders have praised the technology for saving hundreds of lives. Despite this, the Iron Dome system comes at a steep price. Each interceptor missile in the system, which includes a radar guidance system, costs $40,000.
While Israel has not said how many missiles are required to take down an enemy rocket or how many missiles it has fired, experts estimate that the country has fired off $8 million worth of Iron Dome missiles in just three days.
Ben Goodlad, a senior aerospace and defense analyst at IHS Jane’s, stated that Israel is only trying to bring down about one-third of the rockets fired by Gaza (the ones on a trajectory towards populated areas. The Iron Dome system is between 87 and 90 percent effective in stopping its targets. Goodlad stated:
“That is an incredibly high success rate for the system. What isn’t clear is how many interceptor missiles are fired. There may be two, three, or four fired at one time to take down a rocket.”
Reuters notes that Israel rushed a fifth Iron Dome battery into service near Tel Aviv on Saturday. The move turned out to be very beneficial, as it was used within hours to shoot down a rocket fired at the Israeli coastal metropolis.
The rocket was the third fired at Tel Aviv in 48 hours and came dangerously close to impacting before it was taken out by interceptor missiles. The Iron Dome’s radars detect a missile and send warning sirens in the town to people can shelter while the interceptor system takes down the incoming rocket.
The alert should provide those in Tel Aviv with 90 seconds before the rocket impacts. But on Saturday it was less than that between the siren’s wail and the explosive sound of the defense missile hitting the incoming rocket. The smoke-cloud left behind was just a few hundred yards above ground, suggesting that the rocket was on its final descent when the Iron Dome system knocked it out of the sky.