Soldiers of the “Iron Dome” Battery stand ready and prepared 24 hours a day along the Gaza Strip. Despite some successful interceptions, they know that every launching coming from Gaza presents an entirely new challenge and attempt to not consider past successes
Recently, along with the ever-present soldiers and technicians, police officers, Knesset members, citizens, and members of the media came to watch the “Iron Dome” in action.
As the soldiers attempted to ignore the scene around them and avoid any confusion, they concentrated to the best of their abilities on the task at hand: dealing with the threat of rocket strikes.
Meanwhile, the Battery commander maneuvers between inspectors, conversations and operational shifts.
“This is the moment the entire system dreams of”, explains Lieutenant Omer. “This week, the first operational launch was carried out since the 80s, and was also the first launch ever for this system. We are very excited. The feeling is that this mission is an example of excellence, that we are defending the people and this also greatly raises motivation. The soldiers argue over who will stay longer on the interception post. On the other hand, we do not get euphoric, we maintain vigilance and we don’t avert our eyes from the screens. This is important because from the moment of discovery [of an incoming rocket] you only have a few seconds to recognize it and to launch the intercepting missile”.
Omer’s statement was cut off by an alarm that sounded throughout the site. Hardly a second passed before all the members of the battery went out to the control post.
Within seconds, it became clear that the rocket was headed for an open area and there was therefore no need to intercept it.
So far, the battery has gained a wide range of operational experience. Throughout all hours of the day, the battery has been dealing with a variety of rocket types along with instances of solo rocket launches and barrages of rockets coming from Gaza.
“The technicians recruited for the mission have been working around the clock with few hours of sleep and with a smile”, says Major Alon Miller, Technicians Division Commander. “The feeling is that there is someone to trust. Everyone understands the importance of the mission, that their work can mean the difference between a Kassam [rocket] falling on a house and a successful interception”.