Are the Iron Dome interceptors striking anything?

Here’s a clip from Tel Aviv yesterday. I believe the missiles are kinetic kill, but do they do a modified zone defense?

You can get a sense of the distance the events are taking place by waiting for the sounds of the explosions.

I suppose we will never know. (Cf., the initial public reports, but not ultimate results, of the barely modified Patriots vs. Scuds in Gulf I.)

ETA: The header is wrong; I meant solely in this clip, and some similar ones floating around on the net, not it’s efficacy in specific cases, which I have no reason to doubt.


implies that hit rates can go up to 85% when not overloaded. when there’s more missiles incoming the system will prioritize missiles depending on where they will hit and ignore ones hitting vacant land.

If this clip reminds of anything, it is that most people make terrible camera operators… and even worse video editors.

Israel claims a high success rate. Their enemies have adjusted tactics to fire volleys of missile. I’ve heard something about the system being limited to a narrow range.

Any defence system can simply be overwhelmed and IIRC probability is calculated based on a range of highly variable parameters including windspeed, warning time, temperature, operator efficiency, trajectory etc.

the iron dome missiles carry a warhead. Of course a direct hit is most effective, but they have a warhead for the near-miss intercept.

Note that the system is designed for short-range missiles. Longer range, in the tens to hundreds of kilometers, will eventually be handled by another system still in development.

Yes, and the explosion of the warhead can be seen in many of the videos. I don’t think anybody counts on kinetic impact; most likely the Tamir missile has some sort of proximity fuze.

Not so – the Arrow Missile Defense System has now been operational for over a decade

If you can determine where the ballistic flight will end, it should be able to calculate where it came from, and shoot the shooter.
But it’s probably on top of a hospital or orphanage.

The Iraqis learned very quick to set up their Iranian (how the hell did they get those must have fallen off the back of a truck) rockets using a timed initiator. It was not healthy to be near the launch site.

Did they capture them during the Iran Iraq War?

The Today Show news this morning said Israel was claiming a 1/3 success rate.

No, 1/3 of the rockets shot at Israel are being intercepted. Most of the rest are tracked and are not intercepted because their trajectory takes them into open areas (often still within the Gaza strip; some of those rockets are not very accurate, and by now they are often very hastily aimed to begin with). The minority (under 5% of all missiles) impact inside built-up areas in Israel.

The effective success rate of the Iron Dome (i.e., rockets successfully intercepted out of those that either are or should be engaged) is a tad below 90% as of yesterday.

Its quite a system, if rather limited to a niche role.


According to this Time article, of the 1000 or so missiles launched into Israel, only 300 or so posed any threat to populated areas, and Iron Dome destroyed 90% of them.

thanks for the update. I haven’t been following these developments closely and didn’t realize the nomenclature. Israel’s planned long range system is called David’s Sling and will have initial operational capability in 2014. It is in fact the next upgrade to the existing Arrow system and is also known as Arrow 3. As you pointed out, the Arrow system has been in operation for several years.

Did you get it wrong (no offense) or did the Today Show put it out with the incorrect understanding?

if you read the thread, it would make sense

If they actually targeted only 300 of the 1000 inbound missiles, and intercepted 90% of those 300, then it doesn’t make sense to ascribe a “1/3 success rate”; that grossly understates the effectiveness of the system.

What I said wasn’t a verbatim quote but they did say 1/3. Just illustrates how statistics and only telling part of the story can warp things.