In peacetime, the Iron Dome system usually utilizes two missiles at a time to intercept incoming rockets, but now that Israel and Hamas are in a high-intensity conflict Israel has shifted to using one interceptor per one rocket, an Israeli Air Force general said. “You don’t intercept 140 missiles with 280,” the general said, describing Israel’s response to the largest barrage so far, 140 missiles that were aimed at Tel Aviv on Thursday.
Iron Dome now also has the ability to down Hamas drones, so far hitting three of them, including one on Saturday that headed for Reim, where an Israeli division headquarters is located. The Israeli general said the adjustment of the system, targeting a drone that can move horizontally, is a significant technological achievement.
The system has been built for a much larger-scale potential conflict with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia, the general said, and therefore the military doesn’t assess it in danger of running out of interceptor missiles anytime soon. Hezbollah has some 130,000 rockets, while Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad had 13,000 rockets in Gaza a week ago
Iron Dome has the capacity to launch some 800 interceptors at a given time, making it hard for Hamas to overwhelm the system, Mr. Bronk of the Royal United Services Institute said. The current success, however, doesn’t mean that Israel should be complacent about the far more potent threat posed by Hezbollah’s arsenal.
“There is a danger that some people are taking the current performance of the system and reading it to mean that it changes the equation between Israel and Hezbollah,” Mr. Bronk said. “It really doesn’t, just because Hezbollah could overload the system pretty quickly and fairly easily if they really wanted to.”