Britain to deploy Israel's Iron Dome in the Falklands
The technology behind Israel’s pioneering missile shield is being rolled out across the globe to power air defences, power grids and “smart cities”. The Iron Dome system was originally deployed on the border with Gaza to repel a barrage of rocket attacks.
But now the company that invented it says the cutting-edge technology’s “brain” has much wider applications. It can link several objects together and crunch large amounts of data to manage efficiently, allowing the system in Israel to coordinate radar and missile launchers to track enemy rockets and blast them out of the sky.
A version of this command and control computer has been bought by the UK to help protect the Falkland Islands, it was confirmed last month.
The Sky Sabre system is part of a £280m upgrade to the defences of the long-disputed South Atlantic territory, which is also claimed by Argentina. It is powered by technology created for Israel’s Iron Dome mobile air defence system.
The UK Ministry of Defence said it would link together radar and anti-air missile launchers stationed on the Falklands. The system is capable of tracking short-range rockets and shooting them out of the sky using interceptor missiles.
But Mprest, a private Israeli company that makes the software, said it is also being used by utility companies to manage water and electricity supplies, with future applications also including managing cities. Its North American clients already include the New York Power Authority, which hired Mprest to monitor its power plants.
In New Zealand, it partnered with utility firm Vector to manage how electricity is distributed across the power grid, diverting power from areas of ample supply to those where demand is highest. Natan Barak, chief executive of Mprest, said: “A growing number of utilities are embracing distributed energy and its potential benefits, including greater grid resilience, lower operating and customer costs, wider autonomy to consumers and new business models. “Mprest’s software empowers utilities around the world to remove hurdles and become leaders in, rather than obstacles to, building and managing the distributed energy networks of the future.” The Iron Dome’s capabilities were first revealed to the world in 2012, when it shot down hundreds of rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip over an eight-day conflict.
The system aims to shoot down rockets at their highest point and to minimise debris — and knows to hold fire if a rocket is set to hit an unpopulated area.