Israel tests new Iron Dome for ships to defend ‘economic waters’

Israel’s Ministry of Defense said the missiles will be “a key part of the ability to protect the economic waters of the State of Israel.”

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The Israel Defense Forces announced it has carried out a series of tests of an upgraded Iron Dome system for use on ships. A video released by the IDF shows the system successfully knocking missile threats out of the sky.

The sea version of the Iron Dome will be operated on the Israeli Navy’s new missile ships, the Saar 6-class corvettes. Israel received the first of six such ships on December 11, 2020. Although integrated onto the Navy’s ships, the missiles will be operated by the Israeli Air Force.

Israel’s Ministry of Defense said the missiles will be “a key part of the ability to protect the economic waters of the State of Israel.”

Defending those “economic waters” became more important on Dec. 31, 2019, when Israel’s offshore leviathan field first began pumping natural gas in what the group operating it called “a historic turning point in the history of the Israeli economy.”

The fields have enabled Israel to become for the first time a major exporter of energy, when it signed a deal to export natural gas from leviathan to Egypt. Israel also exports gas to Jordan.

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The leviathan field, which is 81 miles west of the city of Haifa on Israel’s coast, holds an estimated 18.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The smaller Tamar field began pumping gas in 2013. It holds 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

However, the Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah, a proxy of Iran, has repeatedly threatened to bomb those gas fields, claiming the gas belongs to Lebanon.

In October 2020, Israel and Lebanon started talks to try and resolve their sea border, but the disagreements between the two remain large.