By Michael Martinez
Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system is figuring prominently in the unfolding aerial conflict with Hamas' military wing in Gaza.
Iron Dome is being credited with protecting Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities by blocking some of the rockets fired from Gaza.
Over the past three days, 737 rockets from Gaza were fired upon Israel: 492 landed, but 245 were intercepted by the system, Israel Defense Forces said Saturday.
The name Iron Dome evokes an image of a protective bubble over a city. In practice, Iron Dome is a defense against short-range rockets and mortar shells: the system targets incoming rockets and fires an interceptor missile to destroy them midair.
Each battery has a firing-control radar to identify targets and a portable missile launcher. The system is easily transportable, with just a few hours needed to relocate and set up.
The missile is highly maneuverable. It is three meters, or almost 10 feet, long; has a diameter of about six inches; and weighs 90 kilograms, or 198 pounds, according to the security analysis group IHS Jane's.
The warhead is believed to carry 11 kilograms, or 24 pounds, of high explosives, IHS Jane's said. Its range is from 4 kilometers to 70 kilometers - or 2.5 miles to 43 miles.FULL STORY