The Israeli air force will deploy its third Rafael-produced Iron Dome mobile air defence system in September, the nation's government has announced.

Using a current two batteries, the air force has succeeded in intercepting 90% of the BM-21 Grad 122mm and Kassam rockets that have been launched into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

They have destroyed 20 rockets that had assumed a trajectory likely to come down on populated areas, while others judged as not posing a risk were ignored.

Israel fielded its first Iron Dome near Ashqelon in early April.

According to an emergency plan its air force will by the end of 2013 operate nine systems, to intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells.

The US administration recently approved a special $205 million budget for the emergency procurement.

Each Iron Dome system features a tracking radar, battle management and weapons control unit and a missile firing unit armed with interceptors capable of tackling threats over a range of up to 70km (38nm).

These are intended to avoid collateral damage by detonating the target's warhead well away from the defended area.

According to foreign sources, Singapore has already purchased the Iron Dome system, with other countries also showing interest following its successful real-life intercepts.

Raytheon, on 16 August, announced that it has teamed with Rafael to offer the equipment for use by the US military.

"Iron Dome complements other Raytheon weapons that provide intercept capabilities to the US Army's counter rocket, artillery and mortar initiative at forward operating bases," said Mike Booen, vice president of Raytheon missile systems' advanced security and directed energy systems product line.

Source: Flight International