The Israeli missile defense system Iron Dome has proved its worth in this latest round of rocket fire directed against civilians by Hamas.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the system — designed and built in Israel — has shot down 90% of the rockets that have been targeted:
The Israel Air Force’s Iron Dome rocket-defense system intercepted 27 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip over the weekend, raising the interception rate from 75 percent last year to over 90%.
Israel currently has three Iron Dome batteries in operation – in Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beersheba – and plans to deploy the fourth in the coming months. Its plan is to deploy a total of nine batteries by mid-2013.
The battery in Ashdod intercepted 11 rockets out of 13 fired into the city; the battery in Ashkelon intercepted one rocket and purposely did not intercept four others since they were heading to open fields; and the battery in Beersheba intercepted 15 and allowed two others to strike open fields.
The Iron Dome is designed to defend against rockets at a range of 4-70 kilometers. Each battery consists of a multi-mission radar manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries and three launchers, each equipped with 20 interceptors called Tamirs.
The radar enables Iron Dome operators to predict the impact site of the enemy rocket and decide not to intercept it if it is slated to hit an open area. Each interceptor costs around $50,000 and usually two are fired at rockets slated for interception.
Israel plans to spend a billion dollars over the next two years to construct additional Iron Dome batteries.