Interception Experiments at the “Iron Dome”
Within four years, the plans on paper had become an operational system, that intercepted over 100 rockets
Minister of Defense: “You’ve created for us not only a dome of iron, but a collection of capabilities that cannot be revealed” The Israeli Security Award was awarded last night to the people behind the “Iron Dome”: developers, industry officials, engineers and fighters
Shir Aharon Bram and Michal Weissbrod
Exactly three years ago, in September 2009, the first regiment of “Iron Dome” was founded. Soldiers at all stages of their service joined, learning from industry experts how to load a launcher, and getting ready for that moment that none of them had ever experienced: intercepting a rocket in the air. “We’re starting from zero, building from the ground up”, said then Lieutenant Colonel Shabtai Ben-Boher, who was chosen to command over the regiment. “The reality here calls for a clear understanding of the gravity and exclusivity of completing the mission, and the professionalism demanded from each and every one here”.
Since then, more than 100 rockets have been intercepted by “Iron Dome” soldiers, additional batteries have been established and the industries have been hard at work at upgrading the system and interceptors. Yesterday, the people behind the operational success received the Israeli Security Award, alongside two classified security projects. Amongst the recipients of the award was also said commander of the first brigade, who today is head of a wing at the Active Defense Headquarters of the IAF. Together with him were also those who led the development of the project from its inception: representatives of centers from the Ministry of Defense, from Rafael (Advanced Weaponry Systems), the Mprest Company and Alta. “In the beginning this idea seemed outrageous”, said two of the idea proponents at Rafael, “And today it’s winning the Israeli Security Award”.
“The common denominator of all the winning projects is that all the crews worked toward the security of the state and its residents, while exhibiting technological, quality and systematic professionalism”, said Brigadier General (Res.) Danny Gold, former commander of the research and development unit at a center of the Ministry of Defense, who initiated the development of the system. “From the concept to the small details, we worked like a well-oiled machine. We had a vision that was born unattainable. We needed to predict what was going to come in order to know in which fields we must surge forward. And here today, international breakthroughs have been reached”.
Commander of the IAF, Major General Amir Eshel, arrived at the ceremony in order to congratulate the people of the Aerial Defense Formation of the force and the developers of the project at the security industries.
President Peres: “You Enable Saving Human Lives”
“You’ve created for us not only a dome of iron, but a collection of capabilities that cannot be revealed”, said Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, to the developers of the system. “The ‘Iron Dome’ system is a central player in the defense against missiles and rockets, and it contributes flexibility to the state-rank in decision-making stages. Together with David’s Sling and the upgrades to the “Arrow” system, the multilayer interception system must become a national project”.
During the ceremony, which was held at Beit HaNassi (the Presidential Residence), President of Israel Shimon Peres proudly acknowledged the accomplishments of the security system. “There is not another country in the world the size of Israel that can develop and build its own plane, tank, missile, satellite. Develop long-distance radio monitors and clear night-vision tools”, said the President. “You, the recipients of the prize, allow the security of Israel to take off to amazing heights, delve deep and dredge up secreted capabilities. You give the IDF and our security arms means that upgrade our operational capabilities to the most advanced in the world. This is a capability that cannot be purchased from outside. This is a capability that creates cautionary uniqueness and decisive capabilities come crunch time. You are enabling saving fighter lives on the frontlines and protecting citizen lives in the rear. You enable the distancing of war and the inching closer to peace”.