When sirens blared, warning of incoming rocket fire during this year’s Israeli-Gaza crisis, those within a safe distance watched as rockets streamed across the sky and exploded in mid-air. The pyrotechnic display was Israel’s missile defense system, Iron Dome, doing its job.
In the 11 days of fighting prior to the May 21, 2021, cease-fire, Hamas militants launched 4,369 rockets from Gaza towards Israel. Nearly two-thirds missed their mark or malfunctioned, but Israelis still had to contend with some 1,500 rockets headed towards densely populated cities, including Tel Aviv. Astonishingly, Israel intercepted and destroyed 90% of them — thanks to Iron Dome.
Developed at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems by a team comprised mainly of Technion graduates, Iron Dome is able to locate a threat up to 45 miles away, assess its damage potential, and knock it down within 15 seconds. Moreover, its components are mobile and can be moved where needed.
The U.S. reportedly purchased two Iron Dome systems last year. And Israel is improving the current technology to combat threats posed by unmanned drones. Iron Dome has saved countless lives and property since its introduction in 2011.