Rafael is looking at a number of enhancements to the Iron Dome missile defence system as a result of lessons learned over recent engagements. Since its first successful interception on 7 April 2011, the Iron Dome has engaged more than 700 rockets with an official success rate at greater than 80% (some sources put this figure at 89%).
The Iron Dome’s concept of operation has changed somewhat since its first engagements, as the operators have learned to have faith in the system. “In the beginning, the IAF [Israeli Air Force] fired two missiles against every inbound target, but now the confidence of the decision-maker has changed and they no longer need to do that,” he said.
“There is something in the pipeline, both in terms of hardware and software improvements [to the Iron Dome]. I can’t say exactly what these are or when [they might be rolled out], but we are in a kind of race [with the Palestinian rocket firers] and we always need to update [the system] to increase the probability of a kill,” he said.
The IDF has released few technical details about the Iron Dome. Rafael has only confirmed that the missile’s guidance system uses a ‘radar seeker’, and that the weapon’s lethal payload is a ‘special warhead’. Whatever the proposed hardware and software improvements turn out to be, it is clear that the need for Iron Dome is only set to increase in coming years.
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