Iran-Israel tensions | A look at Israel’s air-defence system that protected it from Iran’s drone and missile strike

Israel's multilayered air-defence system is credited with protecting the country from serious damage or casualties from an Iranian strike by more than 300 drones and ballistic missiles

April 14, 2024 11:17 am | Updated 12:54 pm IST - JERUSALEM

Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel on April 14, 2024. Iran launched its first direct military attack against Israel on April 13. The Israeli military says Iran fired more than 100 bomb-carrying drones toward Israel. Hours later, Iran announced it had also launched much more destructive ballistic missiles.

Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel on April 14, 2024. Iran launched its first direct military attack against Israel on April 13. The Israeli military says Iran fired more than 100 bomb-carrying drones toward Israel. Hours later, Iran announced it had also launched much more destructive ballistic missiles. | Photo Credit: AP

An incoming attack by more than 300 Iranian drones and ballistic missiles was the latest challenge to Israel’s air defence system, which already has been working overtime to cope with incoming rocket, drone and missile attacks throughout the six-month war against Hamas.

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Israel's defence system with assistance from the U.S. and Britain is credited with preventing serious damage or casualties. Here’s a closer look at Israel’s multilayered air-defence system:

The Arrow: This system developed with the U.S. is designed to intercept long-range missiles, including the types of ballistic missiles Iran said it launched on Saturday. The Arrow, which operates outside the atmosphere, has been used in the current war to intercept long-range missiles launched by Houthi militants in Yemen.

Also read: Israel deploys C-Dome defence system for first time

David’s Sling: Also developed with the U.S., the David’s Sling is meant to intercept medium-range missiles, such as those possessed by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Patriot: This American-made system is the oldest member of Israel’s missile-defence system – used during the First Gulf War in 1991 to intercept Scud missiles fired by Iraq’s leader at the time, Saddam Hussein. The Patriot is now used to shoot down aircraft, including drones.

Iron Dome: This system, developed by Israel with U.S. backing, specialises in shooting down short-range rockets. It has intercepted thousands of rockets since it was activated early last decade – including thousands of interceptions during the current war against Hamas and Hezbollah. Israel says it has a success rate of over 90%.

Iron Beam: Israel is developing a new system to intercept incoming threats with laser technology. Israel has said this system will be a game changer because it is much cheaper to operate than existing systems. However, it is not yet operational.

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