A second “Iron Dome” interception system battery operated by reservists has been qualified in the past weeks and its operators and technicians are excited by the quick technologic development that it underwent and by the important operational activity. Aerial Defense Division Commander: “The world of the ‘Iron Dome’ is in continuous evolution”
“How many of you are students?”, asked Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovich, Commander of the Aerial Defense Division. About ten of the reservists raised their hands. “How many of you have a job?” he added and all the rest raised their hands. One works in an electronics lab and another has missed ten days of pharmaceutical studies, but in the conversation with Brig. Gen. Haimovich, on a cold night on a secluded hill, they were all full time combatants, technicians and interceptors in the “Iron Dome” Division.
This month, they congregated for a few full days of completion training for the establishment of the second “Iron Dome” reserve battery and by the end of it, the battery was qualified and operational.
“Ahead of Their Time”
During Operation “Protective Edge”, the reserve battery soldiers were thrown into battle without undergoing an organized training session, because when in it comes to “Iron Dome”: “the capabilities are ahead of their time”, as Brig. Gen. Haimovich said, talking with the reservists. They testify that the operation in the summer of 2014 was the best training they could have underwent, with the system achieving above 700 interceptions.
They arrive at their reserve duty with joy, compare the number of interceptions each one has had and reminisce about the last operation in which some of them were operational for 50 intense but fulfilling days straight.
“An interceptor’s shift is usually about 3 hours, but during ‘Protective Edge’ interceptors took four hours shifts and more and didn’t want to stop. We ‘competed’ amongst ourselves for shifts, everyone wanted to sit in the station”, shares Srgt. Maj. (Res.) Yoni Valem, an interceptor in the reserve battery. “You feel meaningful and important and the sympathy we received from the citizens was heartwarming”.
Feeling of Responsibility
The Aerial Defense Division Commander blessed the reservists for their willingness and explained: “When you call in a reservist, you need to give him the feeling that he has an added value and that he isn’t here just to pass time. Everyone here reports for duty out of a feeling of responsibility and mission and that is admirable. The operational aspect aside, an integral part of reserve duty is the deepening of the personal ties and friendships”.
The Division Commander’s visit of the battery site and one of three launchers that were deployed was sealed with a promise and the hope of a quiet future: “The ‘Iron Dome’ Division is a kind of barometer which indicates the security situation in the country and we hope that we will not need to disturb your routine much more”.
The System Keeps Developing
The Second reserve battery that has become operational during the past weeks, following a long process of training and qualification, is the first battery to meet the new system upgrade with a new “software block”.
In a few weeks, the rest of the “Iron Dome” batteries, reserve and mandatory, will also be qualified. Until May 2016, all “Iron Dome” System parts will be upgraded to the new block.
“In another world, we could have postponed the system upgrade to a year from now, but our enemies are working, so we must continue to better our readiness. The world of ‘Iron Dome’ is in continuous evolution and part of you have accompanied ‘Iron Dome’ from the beginning, sitting in the battery and feeling that it’s another world”, said Brig. Gen. Haimovich.
“The system has changed and progressed in its ability to deal with double the targets and can deal with multiple aerial defense missions”.
The vast majority of reservists in the completion training have served in the “Iron Dome” Division since the first interception it has ever completed, back in 2011 during Operation “Pillar of Defense”.
“Every time I arrive at reserve days, I notice the impressive technological progression that the Division has underwent since early stages until now”, said Srgt. Maj. Valem. “The experience that we have accumulated in past operations has improved our performances and the way we withstand in real-time”, another soldier from the battery said.