A view of a damaged area, after Iran's mass drone and missile attack, at a location given as Nevatim Airbase, Israel, in this screengrab taken from a handout video released April 14, 2024.

How Did Israel Intercept 99% Of Iran’s Drones And Missiles?

Monday, 04/15/2024

In its attack on Israel, Iran launched more than 300 killer drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles on Israeli territory, IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari confirmed this weekend.

The unprecedented attack on Israel -- the territory of a key US ally -- though anticipated, was unparalleled.

Contrary to the Islamic Republic’s armed forces chief, who claimed the attack “achieved all its objectives,” the IDF spokesperson reports that 99% of the threats were intercepted by the air defense system, resulting in negligible impact.

Iran used 170 drones, 120 ballistic missiles, and 30 cruise missile in its attack on Israel.

On April 12, at approximately 9:33 pm London time, Tehran confirmed the initiation of its attack.

A wave of drones was dispatched from Iran, some 1200 kilometers away, towards Israel.

An Iranian Shahed 136 Drone, with the maximum speed of 185 k/h takes hours to cover a distance of 1200 kilometers -- suggesting that Israel had a heads-up several hours in advance. Missiles were launched almost an hour later, according to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

Iranian Shahed 136 Drone

The Iron Dome is commonly recognised as Israel's primary defense against missiles and rockets. But, Israel's defense shield consists of five layers -- with the Iron Dome counting as one. In preparation for such an attack, Israel has been developing its air defense system for the past 15 years.

Its first tier, the Iron beam, destroys the projectile with a pillar of laser light. Like the Iron Dome, its detection radar becomes active, and the laser gun targets the objective. It is used for short-range missiles and artillery shells. It fills the blind spot of the Iron Dome. According to the IDF it is yet to be operational.

The second tier, the most renowned, is the Iron Dome. When a rocket is fired towards Israel, the rocket radar detects and tracks it. The control system estimates the impact point, and finally the nearest launcher engages and launches a missile towards the rocket. The success rate of the Iron Dome system is close to 96%, meaning out of 100 rockets, 4 of them may hit Israeli soil.

David's Sling: Israel’s military system named after the biblical story of David and Goliath. This third tier can target drones, aircraft, medium to long-range missiles, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles covering ranges from 40 to 300 kilometers. It has the capability to provide coverage for all of Israel from a single point. David's Sling was responsible for shooting down the Hamas Ayyash 250 rocket on October 13, 2023.

According to the IDF, the Israeli Air Force and its allies successfully intercepted and destroyed all 170 drones and 30 cruise missiles outside the country's borders.

Of the 120 ballistic missiles that crossed into Israeli airspace, the IDF reported that the long-range Arrow air defense system successfully intercepted the overwhelming majority.

Arrow 2 and Arrow 3, considered the top tiers of Israel’s multilayered air defenses, complement each other, and track and destroy missiles and rockets with ranges up to 2400 kilometers.

The second factor contributing to the limited impact came from Israel's allies: fighter jets stepped up to boost interception capabilities.

Reports indicate that jets from the US, UK, France, and Jordan formed a robust barrier against the onslaught of drones and missiles from the Islamic Republic.

US forces hit over 80 one-way attack drones, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Monday – meaning that the US downed 47% of Iran’s launched drones.

This was the first-ever attack from Iranian soil on Israel.

An attack that diverted attention from the Gaza war towards the Islamic Republic and united the international community in support of Israel and condemnation of the Iranian government.

Now, as the IRGC authorities declare the conclusion of their operation, Israel asserts that the battle is far from over, hinting at a forthcoming retaliation against the Islamic Republic.

But, for the time being Israel’s next move remains uncertain.

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