Israel upgrades its missile defence system

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 3:27am

The Israeli air force has successfully tested an upgraded version of its "Iron Dome" missile defence system, the defence ministry said.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement: "Israel has invested an enormous budget to finance the different missile defence systems that should allow us to protect the whole of our territory within a few years."

Israeli television said the latest version of the Iron Dome is designed to intercept medium-range missiles, such as those possessed by Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah group.

The first Iron Dome battery was installed in March 2011 in the Negev desert 40 kilometres from the Gaza Strip, and has intercepted more than 100 rockets since then.

Southern Israel is regularly targeted by rocket attacks from Palestinian Hamas-controlled Gaza, to which it often responds with air raids.

Military experts say 13 batteries are needed to defend the whole of Israel's territory, an arsenal that will take several years to build up. Israel says it has invested US$1 billion in the project.