How does Israel's Iron Dome defence system work?

Israel’s military says 99% of projectiles were intercepted with help of partners

Web Desk
Almost all the projectiles were destroyed in the air by Israel’s Iron Dome. — Reuters
Almost all the projectiles were destroyed in the air by Israel’s Iron Dome. — Reuters

Tensions in the Middle East hit a new high as Iranian drones, cruise and ballistic missiles were fired from its territory directly toward its arch-foe Israel, however, most of them were intercepted by Israeli missile defence systems.

According to reports, hundreds of drones and dozens of cruise missiles were fired for the first time, after Israel struck the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus, killing at least 12, including two generals of IRGC.

Almost all the projectiles were destroyed by the air defence systems including Iron Dome.

The Israeli military said Sunday that "99% of projectiles were intercepted with the help of its partners, with only a small number of ballistic missiles reaching the territory.

"Around 170 drones, over 30 cruise missiles, and more than 120 ballistic missiles were fired," Israel said.

How does Israel’s Iron Dome work?

One of the advanced air defence systems Iron Dome started operating in 2011. It detects missiles, drones, and rockets when they are launched toward Israel and stops them in mid-air by destroying the projectiles.

The highly effective missile defence was developed by indigenous firm Rafael Advanced Defence Systems with US support.

It comprises mobile units on trucks and batteries. They are scattered all over Israel. It has three to four launchers that can fire up to 20 interceptor missiles.

On the initial level, radars detect approaching objects, and the information is transferred for analysis. 

The experts decide after analysing the information what to launch for interception.

Then counter missiles are fired directly, or near their flying path to neutralise the coming projectiles or weapons.

It can be overwhelmed after a large number of rockets are fired, as Hamas did on October 7, last year.

It is known as Kippat Barzel in Hebrew and there are personnel overseeing the system 24/7.

The country also has medium and long-range defence systems, called David's Sling, Patriot, and Arrow.

How much does Iron Dome cost?

According to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, each Iron Dome missile interceptor costs between $40,000 and $50,000 to produce.

Iran's missile attack cost Israel 4-5 billion shekels Sunday, Brigadier General Reem Aminoach, former financial advisor to the IDF chief of staff, told Ynet studio.

The Washington-based security think tank estimated that a complete system costs around $100 million to produce.

A CNN report estimated that the US has spent over $2.9 billion on the Iron Dome program.