Iron Dome Proves its Mettle
November 29, 2012 -
What a difference a few years makes. That’s the speed that some military technology is moving – literally changing the battlefield.
I was in Haifa, Israel in August 2006, when Hezbollah rockets rained down on that cosmopolitan city. Haifa’s port – a major artery in the Israeli economy – sat empty. The streets were a ghost town. Air sirens blared. Rockets slammed into homes.
Since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, some 8,000 rockets have been launched by the Hamas terror group into southern Israel. Most thought an effective defense against unguided rockets was impossible.
But out of these attacks emerged "Iron Dome." In a few short years, this system went from the drawing board to deployment and battle, proving its mettle – and shielding Israelis in the south from the Hamas rocket threat.
Faced with an incoming rocket attack, radar determines whether it is a threat to the civilian population or will fall harmlessly in the desert. The system fires only at those rockets that are a threat – with an intercept rate approaching 90 percent. It all happens in a matter of seconds.
Southern Israeli cities like Sderot, Ashkelon, and Beersheba are much safer. So effective, instead of running into bomb shelters when the sirens sound, some are running into the streets to film cell phone videos of Iron Dome in action.
Iron Dome has helped save innocent Israelis, gives its leaders breathing room, and prevented more bloodshed. Most believe that if those interceptors didn’t work, the Israeli army would be in Gaza today. Instead, we’ve got a (tenuous) cease-fire. Congress can be proud of its role in backing Iron Dome.
As I noted at this morning’s hearing - here’s to technological innovation – and U.S.-Israeli security cooperation.