1st Kill For Israel’s Naval Iron Dome! C-Dome Deployed On Sa’ar 6-Class Corvette Hits Suspicious Target

An Israeli Navy’s Sa’ar 6-class corvette recently utilized a ship-mounted version of the Iron Dome missile defense system to intercept an aerial target that breached Israeli airspace near the southern city of Eilat. 

The interception, which occurred shortly before midnight on April 8, marked the first-ever operational use of the advanced Iron Dome model, known as C-Dome. 

The interception was witnessed by beachgoers in Eilat, who filmed the moment when two interceptor missiles were launched from the Navy’s Sa’ar 6-class corvette. 

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian, a military correspondent for the Times of Israel, described the event as a historic moment for the Israeli military. 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that infiltration sirens blared in Eilat after a “suspicious aerial target” breached Israeli airspace. The Navy swiftly tracked the target before successfully neutralizing it with the C-Dome system, marking its inaugural operational deployment. 

“Following the sirens that sounded in the area of Eilat regarding the infiltration of a hostile aircraft, IDF Naval forces identified a suspicious aerial target crossing into Israeli territory,” the IDF said in a statement. 

The Israeli military added that the suspected drone infiltrated Israeli airspace from the east. Over recent weeks, there has been an uptick in drone assaults in the vicinity of Eilat, which have been linked to an Iran-aligned faction operating from Iraq.

Fortunately, there were no reports of damage or injuries resulting from the interception. The latest event closely follows another incident where a drone came dangerously close to striking one of Israel’s Sa’ar 6-class corvettes stationed at Eilat but ultimately hit a naval warehouse. 

Eilat has been targeted numerous times by Iran-backed groups. In November last year, a drone launched from Syria struck a school in Eilat, while in March this year, a cruise missile fired from Yemen hit an open area north of the city. 

The land-based Iron Dome system has been frequently deployed to intercept rockets launched from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. However, the latest interception has now demonstrated the effectiveness of the naval version of the Iron Dome in countering drone attacks. 

The C-Dome, installed on Israel’s most advanced warships, the Sa’ar 6-class corvettes, utilizes the same interceptor as the Iron Dome, as mentioned by the state-owned operator Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The system was declared operational in November 2022. 

The Sa’ar 6-class corvette group comprises four corvettes constructed in Germany for the Israeli Navy. These vessels are named INS “Magen,” meaning shield; “Oz,” meaning valor; “Atzmaut,” meaning independence; and “Nitzahon,” meaning victory. Each corvette is manned by approximately 80 sailors.

These corvettes are being deployed to support ground operations in the Gaza Strip and to target Hamas members, including numerous individuals affiliated with the group’s naval forces.

Israel’s C-Dome Air Defense System

The C-Dome is the naval iteration of the Iron Dome air defense system, designed to protect against rocket and missile attacks.

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The first operational use of the C-Dome system marks a significant milestone in bolstering the defensive capabilities of naval vessels, representing a notable advance in both self-defense measures and regional security strategies. 

The system operates as a crucial element of Israel’s multi-tiered missile and air defense architecture and seamlessly integrates with established systems such as Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2, and Arrow 3. 

C-Dome also offers comprehensive hemispheric protection against coordinated saturation attacks from multiple directions, providing a robust shield against evolving threats. 

Leveraging the vessel’s onboard radar and Combat Management System (CMS), C-Dome harnesses the battle-proven Tamir interceptor, renowned for its track record of over 2,000 successful interceptions.

File Image: INS Magen firing C-Dome system (Screenshot from IDF video)

The system comprises three essential components: Tamir interceptors, a modular Vertical-Launch Unit (VLU), and a Command & Control (C2) component. These elements work in tandem to maximize operational efficacy. 

The C-Dome optimizes operational efficiency by utilizing the vessel’s surveillance radar for threat detection and tracking, thus eliminating the need for additional dedicated radar systems. This streamlines integration and enhances overall operational effectiveness.

The vertically-launched interceptors offer unrestricted 360-degree coverage, ensuring swift and agile response capabilities against a diverse array of threats. 

Equipped with advanced warhead technology, the interceptors boast high kill probabilities and exceptional agility, capable of neutralizing even the most maneuverable targets. 

The interceptors, reinforced by a proximity fuse for maximum lethality, ensure maximum effectiveness. This feature enables the interceptors to neutralize incoming threats with precision and efficiency decisively. 

Despite its powerful capabilities, C-Dome boasts a compact footprint, which facilitates integration onto various naval platforms, including Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and smaller corvettes.

This adaptability enhances the system’s accessibility and versatility, extending its protective reach across a broad spectrum of naval operations.