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Israel Deploys Sea-based Iron Dome

November 28th 2017

Israeli Navy

The Israeli military has declared initial operational capability of a ship-based version of the Iron Dome intercepting system following a live-fire test earlier in the day that destroyed multiple incoming targets at sea.

The Nov. 27 milestone test capped more than 18 months of intensive coordination between the Israeli Air Force, the Israeli Navy and local industry to integrate Iron Dome with the Adir surveillance, track and guidance radar onboard the INS Lahav, a Sa’ar-5 corvette-class surface ship.

“Officially, from today, we added another operational layer to defend Israeli assets in the Mediterranean Sea,” Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovich, commander of the Air Force’s Aerial Defense Division, told reporters.

“Now there is full connectivity between the ship-based Iron Dome, the Adir radar and our ground-based Iron Dome batteries. It was proven in today’s live-fire test and its performance is excellent,” Haimovich said.

Developed by state-owned Rafael, Iron Dome has been credited with more than 1,700 successful intercepts since it was first deployed in 2011. The firm is marketing its ship-based Iron Dome variants under the name C-Dome.

The Air Force officer noted that the ship-based Iron Dome would be operated by air defenders according to the same doctrine and skill sets developed for land-based Iron Dome batteries. “This naval Iron Dome is part of our new Iron Dome battalion … and the merging of land- and sea-based capabilities promises to achieve our goals in the next round of escalation or the next war.”

Navy Capt. Ziv Barak, head of the service’s weapons department, said lessons from Israel’s 2014 Gaza war drove requirements for a sea-based Iron Dome for defense of the Israeli coast, Israeli ships and offshore energy assets. However, he emphasized that integration of the ship-based interceptor and its interoperability with land-based systems could just as easily be used to defend against threats beyond its northern border.

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