IDF successfully tests upgraded Iron Dome anti-missile system
The new system can now intercept more rockets and offer wider protection of the area where it is set; Barak: Within a few years, the multi-layer missile defense system should be able to protect all of Israel.
Israel's Defense Ministry has recently completed a series of exercises that upgrade the interception abilities of the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
The major improvement is an increase in the battery's radar abilities that enables the detection and warning from incoming missiles.
The upgraded system could perform better during a massive rocket attack, and offer wider protection of the area where it is set. The new radar will be installed in other batteries, already in use.
"If, presently, the Iron Dome protects a certain area, gradually the upgraded ability will enable it to handle a larger number of rockets or larger areas. The one battery will cover more space," security sources told Haaretz.
The experiments held last week included upgraded software that enables more interception capabilities.
"The Defense Ministry has invested huge sums in multi-layer missile defense system that should be able, within a few years, to protect all of Israel," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday.
"The success of the trials signals a significant progress toward completing the multi-layer defense system, and further funds should be allocated for this purpose."
Following the trials, the Defense Ministry will hand the fifth Iron Dome battery, with the upgraded interception capabilities, to the Air Force. Presently, the Air Defense Command operates four batteries. The sixth battery is undergoing final development and is due to be handed over to the Air Force next summer. Batteries five and six will be operated by reserve Iron Dome soldiers.
The Air Defense Command has recently begun training the operators of these batteries, which will be operational next year.
Last July U.S. President, Barak Obama, approved the increase in military cooperation between Israel and the U.S., which includes a 70 million dollar grant for the production of the Iron Dome system. The Obama administration is committed to a total sum of 680 million dollars for the Iron Dome project, a sum that will be spread out through several years.