New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: What started as a small conflict has now turned into a full-scale war between Israel and Palestine with the two countries launching massive airstrikes and rockets at each other. So far, more than 90 people, including an Indian, have lost their lives in the rocket attacks.

While over 80 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, only seven Israelis have lost their lives. The major credit for the low casualty rate in Israel goes to the Iron Dome air defence system that has become an "invisible shield" for the Israelis.

What is the Iron Dome?

The Iron Dome is a short-range all-weather air defence system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries. Along with the S-400, the Iron Dome is considered as one of the most dependable and effective air defence systems in the world.

The makers claim that Iron Dome, which can intercept and destroy missile and artillery shells and UAVs from a range of 70 km, has a success rate of over 90 per cent and can be deployed in all terrains and forward operating bases (FOBs).

"Iron Dome is combat-proven, with over 2,000 interceptions. The multi-mission system effectively counters rockets, mortars and artillery shells, as well as aircraft, helicopters and UAVs at very short range," said the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems on its website.

How does Iron Dome work and why is it so effective?

Iron Dome, which was first deployed in 2011, has three main systems -- a radar, battle management and weapon control system (BMC) and a missile-firing unit -- that help in identifying whether the incoming missile or rocket shell is a threat and has the potential risk of hitting populated areas or vital Israeli areas.

The radar helps in identifying a missile while the BMC system analyses how to counter it. The missile firing unit, on the other hand, simply fires a missile to destroy the rocket shell. Though the missile can manoeuvre, it cannot hit the incoming rocket shell directly always.

What about the cost of the Iron Dome missile system?

According to the available information, one unit of Iron Dome is priced at USD 50 million. On the other hand, it takes USD 80,000 to build the interceptor Tamir missile while a rocket is available only for USD 1,000.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma