Israeli missile system ahead of schedule

May 9, 2011 at 9:07 AM
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JERUSALEM, May 9 (UPI) -- Israel will spend $1 billion to develop and install the Iron Dome defense system, the development of which is ahead of schedule, a defense official said.

Maj. Gen. Udi Shani, director general of the Defense Ministry, said the system last month intercepted rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, proving its effectiveness, Haaretz reported Monday.

"We have [accomplished] a significant achievement in reaching operational capability sooner than expected, but this is not a system that can ensure the interception of every rocket in every situation," Shani said.

"These batteries, when they are deployed, will limit the number of casualties from rockets and will provide, in case of fighting, decision-making space. But in the end, it is also a matter of physics and technology. The technology cannot stand alone."

Shani said it would take some time for Rafael, the maker of the Iron Dome system, to produce the large number of missile batteries needed, and for the Israeli air force to train personnel.

Shani said five other countries have expressed interest in the system.

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