Russian military historian and director of the Museum of Air Defense Forces, Yuri Knutov, said that the Hamas attack revealed the Iron Dome’s inefficiency.
The Iron Dome air defense system, developed by Israel, is widely recognized as one of the best in the world. Despite this, it appears to have fallen short of entirely invalidating the Saturday Palestinian rocket fire.
Russian military historian and director of the Museum of Air Defense Forces, Yuri Knutov, commented on this failure by pointing out that while the Iron Dome is a very complex and modern air defense system, it has flaws that can be exploited by any adversary.
For starters, a single Iron Dome battery can only cover around 150 square kilometers of ground.
Second, the Iron Dome is quite effective against a small number of incoming targets that all approach from the same direction, according to Knutov.
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“In case of a more intensive barrage, involving at least about 100 rockets, the Iron Dome usually fails to do its job and up to 90 percent of the rockets bypasses it and strike the intended targets,” he claimed.
The historian also noted that Hamas fighters purposefully fired large numbers of rockets in a variety of directions, possibly in an effort to overwhelm Israeli Iron Dome defenses.
“When it (an Iron Dome system) intercepts the first salvo, when it is dealing with those rockets, it is unable to deal with the second salvo that was fired practically a minute after the first one. And so the rockets from the second, third and fourth salvos reach their targets practically unopposed,” he said, arguing that this tactic essentially capitalizes on Iron Dome’s “inefficiency.”
Additionally, Knutov noted that whereas Palestinian jury-rigged rockets, the threat that Iron Dome systems typically have to deal with, only cost between $2,000 and $3,000 each, a single Iron Dome interceptor missile costs at least $20,000.
Despite this, Knutov praised the Iron Dome’s radar unit and the interceptor missiles it employs, calling both of them “interesting.”
He added that Iron Dome can assess whether an incoming missile threatens a military installation or a populated region, allowing it to avoid wasting ammunition on a projectile that might otherwise land in a desert.
What Does Iron Dome Do?
The Israeli-made Iron Dome air defense system is intended to intercept and obliterate artillery and ballistic missiles launched from a radius of 4 to 70 kilometers.
The Iron Dome was created by Israeli defense firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in the late 2000s. It was initially put into service in 2011, and since then, the IDF has actively employed it to fend off rocket attacks launched by Palestinian militants.
A typical Iron Dome battery contains a number of launcher units, each of which may carry 20 interceptor missiles as payload, a radar unit, and a control unit.
The Iron Dome’s capacity to assess incoming threats and disregard missiles and rockets aimed at open spaces without preserving their payload is one of its distinctive qualities.
Israeli Intelligence Services’ Failure & Merkava Fiasco
Knutov claims that the fact that Hamas militants were able to train all of the militant squads that launched incursions into Israeli territory on October 7 and prepare tens of thousands of rockets for this attack in secret proves that Israel’s intelligence agencies did not perform their duties properly.
According to Knutov, teams of Hamas militants used paragliders and carried out amphibious landings to avoid Israeli forces and storm Israeli military bases. These actions appear to be special operations methods.
He also found it surprising that an Israeli Merkava main battle tank, “which was portrayed as the best tank of the world and which was equipped with Trophy active protection system and with dynamic protection,” had been rendered inoperable by a Palestinian militant wielding a relatively out-of-date anti-tank weapon.
“The first tank was taken out with an old RPG-7 grenade launcher loaded with a shaped charge that punched straight through the tank’s frontal armor,” he said.
Knutov argued that to put it plainly, the fact that neither the lauded Trophy system nor Merkava’s armor and dynamic protection was able to prevent the tank from being destroyed proves that none of them are as effective as claimed.
Hamas is an organization that Israel has designated as a terrorist entity and is behind the new Gaza War in 2023 after the launch of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.