JERUSALEM, Israel – You’ve heard about how successful the Iron Dome anti-missile system has been on land. Now the Israel Air Force and Israel Navy have declared its maritime companion operational at sea. The announcement follows 18 months of rigorous testing by intercepting Israel’s own Tamir missiles launched from a warship.
The Iron Dome system is the equivalent of hitting a bullet with a bullet and at sea. It can help protect Israel’s vital offshore gas rigs since Israel’s nemesis, Hezbollah, has threatened to target those rigs. They join Israel’s multi-layered missile defense system, which includes the Arrow and David’s Slingshot, also used to protect Israeli naval vessels and cargo ships.
The Iron Dome played a significant role during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, when Gaza-based Islamic terror cells launched multiple rockets, missiles and mortars on Israeli towns and cities. The Iron Dome intercepted and destroyed longer-range Grad-style missiles targeting major population centers such as Beersheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod and even Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
During the 18-month test period, the maritime system was installed and tested on the Sa’ar 5-class INS Lahav. Two redesigned batteries – instead of one – will be installed on four Sa’ar 6-class warships now under construction in Germany.
The navy revised an earlier plan for a single Iron Dome battery on each of four ships being built in Germany, Defense News reported.
“Because of this growing threat, we’re adding another [Iron Dome] launcher on the Sa’ar-6,” a senior officer said in a March interview at Navy headquarters in Tel Aviv, citing the increasing need to defend Israel’s offshore assets.
Testing of the maritime Iron Dome began in May 2016.
The batteries are synched with Adir radar onboard – the same system used in the Arrow anti-missile batteries – and detection systems on shore. They will be operated by a specially trained troop of the Iron Dome Battalion established last September.
Each launch reportedly costs around $50,000.
This article originally appeared on CBN News, November 28, 2017, and reposted with permission.