Israel's Rafael-produced Iron Dome mobile defence system has achieved its first live intercept against a short-range rocket launched from the Gaza Strip.

The newly installed equipment destroyed a BM-21 Grad 122mm rocket launched in the direction of Ashqelon on 7 April, around three days after it had been deployed near the Israeli city.

 Iron Dome - Israel Sun Rex Features
© Israel Sun/Rex Features

Intended to intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells, the Iron Dome system was designed to avoid collateral damage in a target area by destroying the threat away from a defended zone, and preventing debris from falling there.

The system's main components include a tracking radar, a battle management and weapons control unit, an interceptor with a special warhead to intercept threats launched from a distance of up to 70km (38nm) away, plus a missile firing unit.

Two Iron Dome systems are now in operational use by the Israeli armed forces.

Source: Flight International