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Behind the Iron Dome: How Israel Stops Missiles

An Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome defense missile
system in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod in response to a rocket launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip on Nov. 18, 2012
An Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome defense missile system in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod in response to a rocket launched from the nearby Palestinian Gaza Strip on Nov. 18, 2012Photograph by Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

The success of Israel’s Iron Dome in shooting down missiles fired from Gaza has a lot to do with a company you’ve probably never heard of: MPrest Systems. Led by a retired Israeli naval captain named Natan Barak, MPrest makes the smarts of Iron Dome. According to the company’s website, its computer technology performs “air awareness picture building, target classification, calculating interception programs, and controlling launch and interception processes.”

The system has stopped roughly 90 percent of incoming missiles, not counting the hundreds that it let through deliberately because it was clear they would land in unoccupied areas, according to a spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Iron Dome has undoubtedly saved the lives of Israeli citizens. It has probably saved the lives of people in Gaza, as well, because without the shield in place there would have been an outcry from the Israeli public for a ground invasion of Gaza to root out the missile launchers. That would have caused many more deaths on both sides.