On March 27, the Israeli military said the operational trial of Iron
Dome began in the south near the city of Beersheba, Middle East Newsline reported. The military did not say
if or when the system would be deployed.
"It's important to keep in mind that the Iron Dome is only in its
preliminary, testing stages such that citizens must continue following the
Home Front Command's instructions on how to stay protected," Home Front
Command chief Maj. Gen. Yair Golan said.
Officials did not explain what the government meant by an operational
trial of the first Iron Dome battery. The Israel Air Force has received two
batteries of Iron Dome, designed to intercept short-range projectiles of the
type fired by Hamas and its Palestinian militia allies. The United States
has pledged $205 million for the Israeli procurement of what could be
another eight Iron Dome batteries.
"The battery will be deployed in the south, being moved from time to
time according to operational needs," Barak said. "The system can fire back
if fired at but it's important to remember that Iron Dome is still not
Iron Dome, designed by the state-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems,
had been scheduled for initial deployment in October 2010. But the plan was
delayed amid reports of technical faults as well as training deficiencies.
"Iron Dome is still in the experimental stage and we do not have the
possibility of deploying batteries to protect every home, school, base and
installation," Netanyahu said. "The true answer to
the missile threat is a combination of aggressive and deterrent measures,
protective measures and a strong stand by the government and the public."
Military sources said the General Staff as well as the Defense Ministry
have sought to delay deployment of Iron Dome. They said the military brass
was concerned that Hamas would fire missiles to determine Iron Dome's
"The IDF stresses that the Iron Dome will not be used consistently and
will be moved around according what the situation necessitates," the
military said. "The deployment will not be permanent, allowing the systems
to be moved between areas according to evolving security assessments."