Analysis

Israel: Racing to Improve Missile Shield Against Iran
Top: Israeli Defense Ministry photo of a successful November 20 test of the David’s Sling missile defense system. Bottom: 2008 photo of then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert standing behind a David’s Sling ‘Stunner’ interceptor. (Moshe Milner/GPO via Getty Images)
November 28, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
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Israel is aiming to build on the recent success of its Iron Dome counter-rocket system to take out larger missiles that outclass Iron Dome interceptors, including some that could be fired from Iran.  These new missile defense systems are extremely sophisticated and some must have a 100 percent kill rate because they need to be capable of intercepting future Iranian missiles that could carry nuclear warheads. 

The Iron Dome System was able to intercept 421 out of 1,500 rockets fired from Gaza during the recent conflict and about 90 percent of the rockets it targeted. Israeli officials were pleased with this record and noted that Iron Dome batteries were concentrated near major Israeli cities. The system has limitations and can be overwhelmed if insurgents fire large, concentrated rocket salvoes at a single target, as Hamas militants realized toward the end of the recent conflict. Most of the rockets that Iron Dome engaged were smaller, homemade rockets. Israel faces more serious threats from advanced medium-range missiles that could be launched from Iran, Lebanon, and Syria. Three new Israeli missile defense systems, known as David’s Sling, Arrow-2, and Arrow-3, are being developed to counter longer-range missiles. 

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