A Night With “Iron Dome” Battery

The soldiers of the division practiced heavy scenarios that included interceptions of heavy barrages

Photo By Hagar Amibar

A Night With “Iron Dome” Battery

“They work hard but accomplish their goal”

Photo By Hagar Amibar

A Night With “Iron Dome” Battery

“It is impossible not to feel the great sense of importance in a situation like this”

Photo By Hagar Amibar

A Night With “Iron Dome” Battery

Photo By Hagar Amibar

A Night With “Iron Dome” Battery

Photo By Hagar Amibar

Thus far, over the course of Operation “Protective Edge”, the “Iron Dome” battery deployed to central Israel has intercepted around 30 rockets. An IAF Site journalist accompanied the soldiers who work day and night in order to complete their mission of protecting the citizens of Israel

Naomi Tzoreff

Night falls on central Israel. The soldiers operating the “Iron Dome” battery, who are responsible for protecting the residents in the area, are preparing for another night of little sleep and none of them seems bothered by it. The atmosphere is full of energy. “It is impossible not to feel the great sense of importance in a situation like this”, explains the Commander of the Battery. “The soldiers are ok; they work hard but accomplish their goal”. They do this with great success. Since the beginning of the operation, over 30 rockets have been intercepted above central Israel, while the soldiers of the battery were entirely successful in intercepting the rockets that presented any threat to human life or the successful progression of the campaign.”In the Division, there is this idea that we always have to be ready for an extreme situation. Sometimes, we will prepare for a situation that is more serious than the intelligence assessments, with the understanding that at the end of the day, we will need to be ready for something that won’t happen”.

That is how it was over the past year. The soldiers of the division practiced heavy scenarios that included interceptions of heavy barrages, dealt with many targets, targets that were far away, as well as quantities of rockets that only increase.

“We were not surprised, we knew that the other side has improved and prepared accordingly”, stresses the commanders. “But if I had told you two weeks ago that Tel Aviv would enter the cycle of rocket fire and that more than 30 rockets would be aimed at it, you would have thought I was talking nonsense, am I right?”

“We drafted for this”

These days, the Interception Management Center is fully staffed, including interceptors, officers and soldiers from the Technical Division, as each one of them has a job critical to the success of the interceptions. The center is a room full of screens and documents. From this room, launchings from the battery are monitored and communication with the control units at IAF Headquarters is established. “An interceptor has to be sharp and alert every second of his shift”, stressed one of the officers. “The system is very advanced in terms of technology, that’s true. But it is the person operating it at the moment of truth who really makes fateful decisions. He is the one that pushes the button, without him there is no interception”. The soldiers at the Interception Management Center have seconds from the moment the target appears on the screen until the decision must be made as to whether or not carry out an interception. An interception is not carried out when the rocket turns towards the sea or to an unpopulated area. “We have to work in a smart way; we have very expensive weapons in our hands”. The interceptors and the officers have to deliberate, be quick and remain calm.

One of the youngest interceptors in the battery explains that he experienced his first interception during the operation: “In the blink of an eye, all the chit-chat in the center stops and silence takes over. Everyone turns to the screens and gets excited. Within a few minutes the interception is carried out and when we see that it was executed successfully we all feel happy. We drafted for this”.

 

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