Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has been successfully upgraded, announced the Defense Ministry last week.
According to a statement by the ministry, the unspecified upgrades were meant to “widen the capacity and improve the performance” of the system. The Defense Ministry noted that Israel now faces “an unprecedented array of threats”, such as mortars and long-range missiles from multiple directions.
The Iron Dome was designed to target incoming rockets from Gaza at a range of between four and 70 kilometers (about 2.5 to 43.5 miles). It targets only rockets deemed to be headed towards sensitive or populated areas, and has an overall success rate of 85 percent.
During Operation Protective Edge, over 4,500 projectiles were fired at Israel from Gaza. Of these, the Iron Dome system targeted 799, successfully diverting or destroying 735, according to a Channel 2 report.
Learning from the experience, Hamas focused its efforts in the later days of the conflict on short-range missiles, which the Iron Dome had trouble targeting.
While working on developing the David’s Sling, a longer-range defense system, Israel is also working to improve the existing system.
These improvements come amid growing concerns for a future conflict with Hezbollah which security officials believe would open with a blitz attack. The IDF is preparing for the likelihood that such a conflict would be far more devastating than last summer’s operation.
“The writing is on the wall and the disappointment will come,” IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel said shortly after Operation Protective Edge last summer. In the next war, he said, “we will not see the same results as Operation Protective Edge.”