Israel successfully tests its Iron Dome air defense system for naval applications

It is meant to protect Israel's natural gas platforms and shipping lanes.
Ameya Paleja
Live-fire testing of Iron Dome
Live-fire testing of Iron Dome

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Following a recent test, Israel's Defense Ministry and Navy announced last week that the C-Dome, the naval version of its much-touted Iron Dome air defense system, is operational, The Times of Israel reported.

The Iron Dome system made it to the news during the conflict in the Gaza Strip last year, when it swung into action and blocked more than 90 percent of rockets fired at Israel. Following the successful deployment of the air defense system, the U.S. decided to procure the system from Israel. At the same time, it also inspired South Korea to build something of its own to thwart attacks from its northern neighbor.

How does the Iron Dome air defense system work?

The state-run Rafael Advance Defense Systems developed the system to protect its cities from aerial attacks and was first deployed in 2011.

The Iron Dome is a short-range ground-to-air defense system that uses radar to detect incoming aerial threats and launches Tamir interceptor missiles to counter them. Aerial threats are not just limited to rockets and missiles but can also include artillery, mortars, and combat aircraft, whether crewed or uncrewed.

Following its success in ground-to-air mode, Israel then moved to deploy the system for its naval forces and dubbed it the C-Dome.

The C-Dome is operational

In a joint statement, the Defense Ministry and Israeli Navy said an advanced version of the Iron Dome system was tested onboard the Sa’ar 6-class corvette INS Oz last month. During the test, threats the system would likely face at sea were simulated. The tests were conducted off the coast of central Israel, and the Navy and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems officials were present.

Last week, the following clip was published.

The announcement also came shortly after Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps was accused of targeting an Israeli oil tanker off the coast of Oman with an explosive-laden drone. According to the Times of Israel, the Sa’ar-6 corvettes guard the natural gas platforms on the Israeli coast and its shipping lanes.

"The C-Dome System constitutes a significant addition to the Israeli Navy’s defense capabilities in a wide array of missions, including the guarding of strategic assets, the Exclusive Economic Zone, and maintaining the regional maritime superiority of the State of Israel,” the joint statement from the Defense Ministry added.

Although the Iron Dome boasts an impeccable record in air defense, it is still considered the lowest tier of the Israeli missile defense system. The country is also developing a laser-based air defense system dubbed the Iron Beam.

While the system might be a few years from actual deployment, Israel uses David's Sling system as a middle-tier weapon to shoot down medium-range projectiles and has the Arrow system that it uses against long-range ballistic missiles. The American-made Patriot system is deployed to counter threats of aircraft.

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