Minister of Defense: “I came to thank you”
In the Past Year the “Iron Dome” Has Intercepted Dozens of Rockets
First Deployment in Be’er Sheba
One Year Has Passed Since the First “Iron Dome” Interception On April 2011, fighters of the Iron Dome waited anxiously to find out if the battery will be a success during the first time activated operationally. The sound of loud clapping could be heard from miles away and symbolized the coming future: the Iron Dome is here to stay
Michal Weissbrod and Yael Harari
The Establishment of the “Iron Dome”
People say that every ending is a beginning of something new. After 35 busy years of operational missions–which included the rescue of a bulletproof vehicle that was attack by terrorists and the first knock down of an’M61 Vulcan’–the ‘Stinger 947’ regiment was closed. In its place, a new battalion of the Aerial Defense Formation is established, the “Iron Dome”.
The Beginning of an Operational Experiment in Be’er Sheba
After Israel is attack by numerous rockets; the Ministry of Defense decides to deploy its new launching system for the first time. “Iron Dome” is destined to conduct an operational experiment in the area of Be’er Sheba. “It’s a very special feeling “, says Captain Itamar Abu, Commander of the Battery.
“We arrived from various places around the country this morning, after a sleepless night, since you could never really rest in a night like this”.
The First Interception of the “Iron Dome”
On April 7th 2011, the Iron Dome succeeds in launching a grad rocket which was intercepted on the way from the Gaza strip toward Ashkelon. “The entire division dreamed of this moment for so long”, says First Lieutenant Omer, the operation officer of the stationed battery. “This week we conducted the first launching since the 80s, and also the first launching of this specific system. We are very excited. It feels like its ‘THE’ mission”.
Intensification down South
Toward the end of the year, things around the southern area heat up as dozens of rockets are aimed toward Israel. Iron Dome batteries integrate rapidly with operational activities and intercept rockets missiles and bombshells above Quiryat Malachi and other southern settlements.
International Interest in the “Iron Dome”
In the Paris Air Show, the “Iron Dome” system is thrust into the spotlight. “There is a lot of interest in the system”, says Head of the IAF Headquarters. “People are acknowledging the performances of the system and its operational successes. It can assist other countries just as it helps Israel”.
The Batteries Intercept Dozens of Rockets. Minister of Defense: “Thank You”
In March 2012, an intensive escalation round begins: within more than three days, over 100 rockets are shot toward Israel. “Iron Dome” batteries intercept dozens of rockets that would hit population centers. Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, arrives at one of the batteries to speak with the fighters: “I came to thank you”.
A Fourth Battery is Established; a Female Commander at the Head
A fourth “Iron Dome” battery begins with its establishment training in preparation of joining the formation. For the first time, a female commander will head the battery: Captain Revital, a long-time officer in the Aerial Defense Formation, does not hide her excitement. “I hoped to receive this role for a very long time, and I’m very proud that I have”, she says. “To provide a sense of security to Israeli residents is a great honor”.
What Does the Future Hold?
In the coming years, the “Iron Dome” formation is expected to expand significantly: to receive additional batteries, deploy throughout the country and develop new capabilities. The Aerial Defense Formation also looks toward the next system: “David’s Sling” (or “Magic Wand”), a new system developed by Israel which will deal with midrange missile threats. This is an additional step taken toward advanced and quality aerial defense for the State of Israel.