TEL AVIV, Israel, June 25 (UPI) -- Defense Minister Ehud Barak has decided to award the 2012 Defense Prize to the developers of the Iron Dome missile defense system, his office said.
The award will be split among eight engineers from the Defense Ministry, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and mPrest Systems Ltd., which developed the system's command-control system, The Jerusalem Post said Monday.
Last week, four Iron Dome missile defense batteries were deployed in southern Israel to enhance security and intercept the Grad rockets fired at southern Israel by Palestinian militants in Gaza.
In the past year the batteries have intercepted more than 100 rockets, the Post said, noting in May the United States said it would provide Israel with $70 million to procure additional units.
The system was initially designed to intercept rockets at a distance of as much as 70 kilometers (43.49 miles). Currently efforts are under way to increase the system's range to intercept long-range rockets, the Post said.