Rafael’s Iron Dome rocket interceptor is capable of intercepting all types of unmanned air vehicle, according to video footage released by the Israeli company showing the system in action.
The Iron Dome counter-rocket, artillery and mortar system has to date made more than 1,500 combat intercepts, and while the ability to neutralise UAV threats has always been touted, it had never previously been seen.
Video footage shows Iron Dome interceptions of both low and high-flying UAVs, in both the “look-up” and “look-down” scenarios. Images of wreckage from the targets indicate they were destroyed by the interceptor’s large warhead.
Ari Sacher, from the systems development, air superiority systems division of Rafael, says that in the recent tests some UAVs were destroyed by proximity-operated warheads, while in some of the tests the interceptor achieved a kinetic hit.
Rafael says the defensive system requires no modification to perform the counter-unmanned air system mission.
“Iron Dome C-UAS performance is not surprising,” says Oron Oriol, the company’s vice-president of marketing and business development. “The interceptor has capabilities far beyond those that have been demonstrated in combat. It has unparalleled manoeuvrability and a warhead that is two to three times larger than anything else out there.
“Iron Dome can take out armed UAVs before they are close enough to release their munitions, and most medium-altitude reconnaissance UAVs before they are close enough to their target to perform their mission.”
In recent years, the Israeli air force has intercepted UAVs that entered the nation’s airspace from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Several were shot down using air-to-air missiles, while others have been downed by Raytheon Patriot surface-to-air missiles.