Israel is developing a naval version of its land-based Iron Dome system to defend its offshore gas fields against short-range rockets.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced in late May that the Israeli Navy had successfully completed a test aboard a Sa’ar-5 corvette of a prototype of the sea-based Iron Dome, known as Tamir Adir or C-Dome. During the test, “multiple” short-range rockets were fired from shore, the IDF said. An Adir radar classified the rockets as threats, and Tamir interceptors shot them down.

Iron Dome in action. Photo: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems
Iron Dome in action.
Photo: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems

To create an operational system, Israel plans to integrate Tamir Adir into Sa’ar-6 corvettes it is buying from Germany. The result will be similar to the Aegis weapon system aboard U.S. Navy ships, said Uzi Rubin, former head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization. Tamir Adir is intended to complement the Barak 8 system, which is designed to intercept sea-skimming missiles and aircraft.

“Together, they will protect Israel’s offshore assets, including natural gas rigs in Israel’s territorial waters,” the IDF said. “These gas rigs, 16 nautical miles from the Gaza coast, have been unsuccessfully targeted by Hamas in the past.”

The IDF said that Tamir Adir was designed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Rafael Industries, the Israel Ministry of Defense and the Israeli Navy. Raytheon [RTN] received a $149 million contract from Rafael in 2014 to co-produce the Tamir interceptor for Iron Dome.

Israel has deployed Iron Dome on land for years to protect against rockets launched from Gaza. The system shot down rockets with a 90 percent success rate during a 2014 war with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, the IDF said.