Rodrigo’s Science Journal #7: The Science Behind the Iron Dome

The Iron Dome has three major parts: the detection and radar base, battle and weapons control (BMC), and the rocket shooting section.

The radar system identifies the opponent missiles or artillery projectiles at the time they are launched.

Then, the BMC estimates the trajectory of the rocket in order to get an idea about where it is supposed to fall, in theory. Hence, it can track and fire at several and reoccurring spots at the same time.

Since one iron dome missile costs approximately $40,000 US, in case a rocket targets in a low populated area, the missiles will not intercept the rockets. However, if a rocket aims at a populated area, the system will launch a missile intending at intercepting and destroying it. All this process take only a few seconds!

Furthermore, this system calculates the best place to catch the rocket approaching its trajectory, to avoid rubbish dropping on populated areas.

baslistic

In the initial part of their flight, they will be conducted by the radar system. However, in order to ensure that the anti-missile is on the right track to hit the rocket, the BMC on the terrain is crucial.

When the iron dome missile is very close to the target, the radar system becomes responsible for indicating the position of the rocket. When it hits the rocket, the anti-missile and the warhead explodes together. Each iron dome base has 20 missiles. Each Iron Dome base is normally configured to cover an area of 70 km. When a rocket comes, usually two missiles are deployed to destroy it.

iron-dome-how-works

Considering that commonly two missiles are deployed, in order to destroy a single rocket, 80,000 USD are spent. Imagine all the money spent by the Iron Dome system during the last Gaza War being applied to education. Moreover, the iron dome does not have 100% precision. Therefore, peace would be a better and cheaper iron dome. I personally hope it is going to happen someday.

References:

http://www.redstate.com/2014/07/16/iron-dome/

https://ricochet.com/archives/israel-iron-dome-us-questions-science-guys/

http://davidson.weizmann.ac.il/en/online/maagarmada/physics/science-kids-how-iron-dome-works

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/how-israel-s-iron-dome-missile-defence-system-works-1.1219839

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-11/fyi-how-israel’s-‘iron-dome’-knocks-incoming-missiles-out-sky

Written by Rodrigo Ferreira

Edited by Carlos Sevilla

Copy-edited by Maria Tirnovanu

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