1 Major Tom  Thu, Nov 15, 2012 11:37:12am

Anyone know how the Iron Dome is supposed to work.... is it up and running? Can we really hit targets as small as qassam rockets? Is it more Star Wars than Patriot missile?

2 ckkatz  Thu, Nov 15, 2012 12:05:02pm

Iron Dome is effective at destroying individual rockets. The current claim is 90% effective against targeted missiles.

However, it has limitations. First, there are a limited number of Iron Dome units which in turn limits the area that can be protected. Second, Iron Dome also can only handle so many incoming missiles simultaneously. It can therefore be overwhelmed by firing volleys of missiles. Third, the cost of the missiles is also high, $35,000-$50,000 versus under a $1000 for the Qassam and Grads. Fourth, it is still going to miss a few that it was aiming at. Fifth, and this is only my guess, even a hit may not disable the incoming missile's warhead, just knock it from the sky, so it may land someplace and still explode. The Patriot missile during the Gulf Wars had this particular issue as well.

The Israelis attempt to "triage" incoming missiles and only attack those that are going to hit populated areas.

3 ckkatz  Thu, Nov 15, 2012 12:14:07pm

One more, I am sure that there are others...

Sixth, it does take a few seconds to identify incoming missles, calculate their trajectories, decide to interecept them, and forward the information to an Iron Dome battery. It then takes more seconds for the battery to ready and fire the "counter missles", and for the counter missles to intercept the incoming missles. If the flight path of th incoming missle is short enough (ie the Israeli town is close enough to Gaza) there will not be enough time to intercept it.

4 Major Tom  Thu, Nov 15, 2012 12:32:17pm

Thanks, I googled it too, and pretty much see the same info... I was just wondering because the last I heard of this, there was a very high success rate, and I was unsure if it was tested against such small targets... Amazing technology.

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