Having already proven its value defending the skies over Tel Aviv—shooting down 85 percent (735 rockets) of incoming fire during the recent Gaza War—Rafael's Iron Dome missile defense shield is taking its talents to the high seas.
The C-Dome, as the naval iteration is called, made its debut at the Paris Euronaval conference earlier this week. Like its land-based predecessor, the C-Dome identifies, targets, tracks, and engages every potential threat that enters its airspace—from rockets and mortars to attack helicopters and UAVs—from any direction. The two models differ in that the C-Dome links directly with the ship's existing radar system rather than tote along one of its own.
And once the refrigerator-sized system engages a target, hold on to your butts. It can squeeze off one heat-seeking Tamir missile per second, swarming incoming targets—even guided missiles. Each of these 9-foot long, 200-pound interceptors can hit mach 2.2 and travel up to 10 miles while carrying a 24 pound warhead.
"C-dome offers something that is not out there (in the market) yet ... A small footprint and the capability to engage multiple targets and saturation threats. And it's based on the only system in the world that has more than 1,000 intercepts," program director Ari Sacher told the AP. "We can protect the ship from every direction at the same time. Most systems out there can't do that."
The new Dome is reportedly compact enough to fit on many smaller classes of ships like corvettes—bigger than a patrol boat, smaller than a frigate—as well as potentially serve to protect strategic interests. "The most strategic sites for the future right now will be gas platforms and oil platforms," reserve Israeli Navy Capt. Meir, told Stars and Stripes. "You have to secure them from missiles; Missiles that will be from terror organizations, from mother boats, from enemy countries, from drones - or any other aerial threat." Right, because we all know how formidable the Palestinian Air Force is. [Stars and Stripes - Wiki - Mostly Missile Defense]
Images: AP Images