How Iron Dome defends Israel?

The Iron Beam system, a prototype of which was unveiled last year, uses lasers to super-heat and disable aerial threats. This is a battle between low-tech and high-tech.
Interesting Engineering

Any action or battle-themed movie fans definitely know the importance of a shield in combat. 

Shields are mainly used to defend oneself from attacks and they can also be used in making an offense in battle. From war shields just like the ones seen in the epic battle of Helm’s deep in the Lord of the Rings to Captain America’s infamous vibranium shield, this piece of armor is indeed an essential battle gear.

While most of the examples mentioned are from fictional films, shields were also present throughout the different events that have occurred in our history. Some shields were even kept in museums for safekeeping. 

They also come in different shapes and forms. Some shields that we have today are so unique that don’t necessarily adhere to characteristics of the standard armor piece. They can be somehow invisible and protect such a large area from offenses.  

How is this possible? Is it magic or a force field like in sci-fi flicks? The answer is the Iron Dome.

The Iron Dome is Israel’s air and missile defense platform that can detect and intercept rockets and artillery within a 43.4-mile (70km) range. Think of it like a shield being used to block arrows except that it is with enemy rockets and an invisible shield that covers a huge surface area. 

This platform was developed by Israel’s Rafael and commissioned by the government. They are mainly used in intercepting the Qassam missiles fired at Israel. Around 4,369 missiles were filed toward Israel and yet the Iron Dome was able to maintain its 90% interception rate, making it an effective shield against the projectiles. 

The Qassam missiles being used to target Israel are locally produced at a low cost. These rockets have no guidance systems and are inaccurate, requiring multiple rockets to be launched simultaneously toward a general location. Regardless of the cost and production, the Qassam missiles are still able to cause distress to Israeli citizens aside from the possibility of causing actual physical harm. 

On the other hand, the Iron Dome is one of the best air defense systems in the world. The production and operation costs are relatively high compared to Qassam missiles. Each battery in the Iron dome is estimated to cost $50 million and uses Tamir missiles which are estimated to cost around a minimum of $40,000 but can go as high as around $163,000.

The Iron Dome became Israel’s shield from Qassam missiles as well as from any other possible aerial attacks. The discrepancy between the operating costs of the Iron Dome and the low-cost missile attacks calls for innovative solutions to be integrated into the air defense system. Nevertheless, this invisible shield is powerful enough to protect the citizens from harm and is the most important aspect of having this shield.