JERUSALEM, Israel — Israel completed the final stage of tests to operationalize the naval "C-Dome" missile defense system for the country's Sa'ar 6 class of corvettes.
The Israeli Navy, the Israel Ministry of Defense and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems said in a joint statement that C-Dome successfully completed an advanced interception test aboard the INS Oz, one of the new ships.
The C-Dome is a seaborne configuration of the Iron Dome system that Israel has used on land to intercept thousands of rockets and other threats over the last decade. Israel Aerospace Industries' Elta makes the radar and mPrest is the command and control systems manufacturer.
"The C-Dome system expertly identified threats and successfully intercepted them by launching Iron Dome interceptors towards them from the sea," Head of the Israel Ministry of Defense's Israel Missile Defense Organization, Moshe Patel said in a statement.
Rafael Executive Vice President Ran Gozali, head of the Israeli company's Land and Naval Systems Directorate, said the C-Dome is the "first operational naval defense solution of its kind."
Israel received its fourth Sa'ar 6 corvette in the fall of 2021. The ships are outfitted with defense systems designed by Israel's three major defense companies; Elbit Systems, Rafael and IAI. These include multi-mission radar, Barak missile interceptors and 76mm cannons, as well as the C-Dome. Israel's joint statement said that the recent test "simulated real threats and included the system's successful detection and interception of targets in challenging scenarios."
The types of targets intercepted was not specified but in the past Iron Dome has intercepted rockets and also drones and an upgraded version of the system was announced last February.
"The C-Dome System constitutes a significant addition to the Israeli Navy's defense capabilities in a wide array of missions, including the guarding of strategic assets, the Exclusive Economic Zone, and maintaining the regional maritime superiority of the State of Israel," the joint statement said.
"Israel is continuing to build and strengthen its defense and attack capabilities – and will continue to keep its defensive edge in the area, protect its assets, its infrastructure and first and foremost – the lives and safety of the citizens of Israel," Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz said.
Patel added that the naval configuration promotes operational flexibility and has become a part of the State of Israel's multi-tiered missile and air defense array. The multi-tiered defense includes David's Sling and Arrow.
The U.S. Army has acquired two batteries of Iron Dome and the US Marines have also tested the missile interceptor as part of the Medium-Range Intercept Capability.
"We recently acknowledged the initial operationalization of the INS 'Magen' corvette, the first to join the Sa'ar 6 series and complete its first operational activity – the patrol of the State of Israel's Exclusive Economic Zone and the protection of our economic and strategic assets," Deputy Commander in Chief and Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Guy Goldfarb said. "The maritime arena has changed, thus leading to wider responsibilities and more extensive operational tasks for the Israeli Navy."
Israel signed a maritime deal with Lebanon which demarcates part of the economic zone Israel is securing.
Iron Dome itself is undergoing upgrades. Israel intends to add laser interceptors as an option to the land version.
Seth Frantzman is a Ginsburg-Milstein Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and senior Middle East correspondent at the Jerusalem Post.