“When things calm down, we conduct a thorough investigation of every launch”
Advancements are made possible largely thanks to the database team that investigates every successful interception and more importantly every failure on the part of the system During Operation “Pillar of Defense” an interception rate of 84% was recorded thanks to the “Iron Dome” system. Today, less than two years later, the system is already recording a success rate of over 90%
One of the divisions that have been working intensely over the past two weeks is the Aerial Defense Division and the “Iron Dome” system in particular. Nine of the batteries of the system have been intercepting salvo after salvo of rockets and have been protecting the home front with a 90% success rate,a 6% increase from operation “Pillar of Defense”. This advancement was made possible largely thanks to the database team that investigates every successful interception and more importantly every failure on the part of the system. In times of emergency, the team is staff 24 hours a day, investigates the activity, arrives at conclusions and allows brings about improvements in the system, even during the fighting.
What is the database team and what is its job? The team is actually a group of electronic and aeronautic engineers, as well as soldiers from the “Iron Dome” section of the equipment department. Following every salvo the “Iron Dome” identifies and intercepts the data from the interception attempt is transferred to the team within an hour. “When things calm down, we conduct a thorough investigation of every launch, but when there is fighting and when there are dozens of interceptions a day, we mostly focus on the cases in which the rocket succeeded in penetrating the layer of defense”, says Major Avinoam, Head of the section.
The performance of the “Iron Dome” is analyzed based on the radar data and the data from the control systems. Additionally, in complex cases, the team uses the data that is received during the launch through other systems, such as the “Arrow” or the “Patriot” missiles. Only a few hours transpire between the moment the salvo takes place and when the team issues its recommendations following the analysis of the incident.
Some of the recommendations can be implemented in the field immediately if they are related to the functionality and deployment of the system, for example moving the radar or changing the routine of the interceptors.
Other recommendations deal with long-terms issues, namely force-building. When it comes to additions to the system that cannot be implemented within a matter of days or are not urgent, the improvements are implemented in later versions of the system. The next version, which will begin operating in two months, is expected to include an improvement of the control device, which is responsible for the direction of the intercepting missile of the system. According to estimates, the improvement will bring about an increase in the success rate of interceptions.
“Constant process of advancement”
A significant component of the system that constantly expands is the “list of targets”-that is to say the type of rockets that it recognizes and that can be intercepted using the existing data. During Operation “Protective Edge”, the Hamas has used a number of other rockets or implemented changes to existing ones. The physical parameters of the rockets, namely the altitude, the energy and the range, are entered into the “Iron Dome” system in order to increase its effectiveness against new threats.
The database team is in contact communication with the Research, Development and Management Authority and the military industries that develop the “Iron Dome” system, as well as the soldiers in the field, for whom the team is a source of knowledge, with which they can deliberate. “Our common goal is to continue to become more efficient so that the system will remain effective and relevant in the face of new threats”, adds Major Avinoam. “There is a constant process of advancement, which occur while taking calculated risks as needed. In the Division, there is a lot of bravery to change and improve and that is what allows its advancement and the quality results the system provides”.