Today (Monday), an “Iron Dome” interception test performed from an Israeli Navy vessel was completed successfully. This test is another step towards the announcement of the system and battalion’s operational capability, expected by the end of the year
Today (Monday), a naval interception test performed in cooperation with the Israeli Navy was completed successfully. During the test, three missiles were launched towards a naval vessel equipped with an “Iron Dome” system. These missilse simulated “Grad” missiles, threatening Israeli gas platforms.
One of the targets launched as part of the test did not require interception, while “Iron Dome” combatants successfully intercepted the other two. Following a fitness and readiness inspection that will take place at the end of the year, the battalion will become operational and perform its mission of naval interception.
“I have no doubt that in the next campaign terror organizations will attempt to target Israel’s gas platforms, so the integration of ‘Iron Dome’ systems into naval vessels is of great importance”, stated Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovitch, Commander of the IAF Aerial Defense Division. “The enemy understands that ‘Iron Dome’ was able to deal with 4,000 missiles and rockets in 51 days during Operation ‘Protective Edge’ and 1,500 missiles and rockets in a week during Operation ‘Pillar of Defense'. As a result, it is focusing its armament in order to become more effective”.
Systems and Capabilities
The State of Israel has two gas platforms and an LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) carrier at its disposal that will soon be joined by another platform, which is expected to be established in 2019. Today, about 60% of Israel’s power supply depends on gas produced by the platforms, while the percentage is expected to rise to 70%-75% by 2040.
"The 'Hamas' organization had already attempted to harm Israel's exclusive economic zone during Operation 'Protective Edge', in hopes to damage Israel's economy and morale", explained Lt. Col. Yoni Grinboim, Commander of the 137th Battalion. "It's important to emphasize that the Aerial Defense Division addresses the threat to Israel's gas platforms".
"The naval 'Iron Dome' variant reflects the development of the Aerial Defense Division's systems and capabilities", added Brig. Gen. Haimovitch. "The systems will be fully implemented in the advanced naval vessels and new battalions will be formed".
On Land and in the Sea
Naval interception is performed by the naval battalion's operators and technicians, whose previous job on solid ground is now performed on rough seas. They were chosen carefully, and underwent many exercises preparing them for the task. "The interception process is the same, except for a few minor changes. The systems aren't identical and were adjusted to the naval task by the weapon industries", described Capt. Yaniv Apo, Commander of the Naval Battalion.
"This is the first time that the ground and naval forces are working together in the vessel's Operations Room. We work in full cooperation – they are in charge of operating the vessel and we are in charge of operating the system. We learn daily, and the fact that we're developing ground-breaking capabilities is a major satisfaction".
“If you would have asked me 20 years ago, as a young officer in the division, if we would cooperate so closely with the Navy, I would have said it was impossible”, said Lt. Col. Grinboim. “I have no doubt that the things we are establishing today are the foundation of the future of the relationship between the forces”.