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The Number Four Release date 22.04.2019
The number four is significant to the Passover holiday – the IAF Site shows you its significance in the air force
Noa Rokni

These days, Passover is being celebrated in Israel. The number four is especially important to the holiday – there is a story of four sons, four questions are asked during the Seder and it is a custom to drink four cups of wine. The number is also especially significant to the IAF and the Air Defense Array in particular. There are four weapon systems, and each one plays an important role in protecting Israel's citizens.

"Iron Dome" | Archive Photo

"Iron Dome"
The Israeli "Iron Dome" weapon system is responsible for intercepting short- and medium-range missiles and surface-to-surface rockets. The system has performed thousands of interceptions, and participated in copious operational scenarios over the past months in response to launches from the Gaza Strip. This month, the IAF marks 8 years since the system's first operational interception.

The weapon system was put to the test in 2012, when the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip first developed the capability of firing rockets that reach Gush Dan. The force only had four "Iron Dome" batteries at the time, which were only enough for protection of the Gaza envelope. In order to protect Gush Dan, one of the batteries protecting the envelope had to be relocated. The solution that came up to the issue was pushing up the fifth battery's establishment date, which was planned for six months later. Due to the emergency at hand, the battery was finally established within mere days. Several hours after commencing activity, it already intercepted a rocket fired towards Gush Dan.

"David's Sling" | Archive Photo

"David's Sling"
The "David's Sling" weapon system became operational two years ago. The system's main mission is providing defense against medium-range missiles, guided missiles and RPAVs (Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicles). The IAF's "David's Sling" battalion recently underwent a major organizational shift.

Approximately one month ago, the system passed a series of interception tests. The test series focused on examining a newly developed version of the system's advanced capabilities, expected to begin operation in 2020.

"Yahalom" (Patriot) | Archive Photo

"Yahalom" (Patriot)
This weapon system is unlike the others. Besides being developed in the United States, its mission is different and unique. "Yahalom" (Patriot) is an American weapon system meant to intercept fighter jets, attack helicopters, UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and other aircraft. The system began operational activity in Israel in 1991 with the goal of preventing aircraft incursions into the country.

The system's combatants experienced a particularly operational month in July of 2018. A Syrian Sukhoi fighter jet flew two kilometers into Israel's territory. The aircraft was monitored by the IAF before finally being intercepted by two "Yahalom" (Patriot) missiles. That same month, the combatants intercepted two UAVs that flew from Syria into Israel. Since becoming operational, the "Yahalom" weapon system has intercepted five hostile UAVs and two hostile fighter jets.

"Arrow" | Archive Photo

Commencing operational activity in 2000, "Arrow" is the IAF's medium- and long-range ballistic missile interception system, and the only system capable of protecting Israel from nuclear threats.

The "Arrow" Unit was established approximately 20 years ago, after the First Gulf War, when Iraqi SSM (Surface-to-Surface Missiles) were launched towards Israel. During the war, almost 40 missiles hit Israel. In 1991, the government decided to establish a directorate for air defense systems, which included the development of the "Arrow" weapon system. "Arrow" is the first system of its kind to protect Israel from SSM threats.