Israeli Air Defense Command
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The Israeli Air Defense Command (in Hebrew: מערך ההגנה האווירית) is the Israel Defense Forces unit responsible for the surface front of Israel's air defense, complementing the air defense provided by Israeli Air Force squadrons. Initially a part of the IDF Artillery Corps, the Air Defense Command has been subordinate to the Israeli Air Force since 1970.
During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Air Defense Network was part of the Artillery Corps, primarily relying on machine guns. During the 1960s, 40 mm radar-guided anti-aircraft guns were introduced, and in 1965, MIM-23 Hawk surface-to-air missiles. The latter were absorbed in the Air Force's surface-to-air units. In the 1970s, the entire Air Defense Network was merged with the Air Force.
On 23 September 2014, a Syrian Air Force Su-24 was shot down by an IAF MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile battery, after allegedly crossing the Syrian-Israeli ceasefire line during a ground attack mission against Syrian opposition forces.
Weapons and equipment
- MIM-23 Hawk, a medium-range radar-guided surface-to-air missile and longest serving system, it is also the network's most victorious. The current model in use by Israel has been technologically upgraded to improve its capabilities.
- MIM-104 Patriot, a high to medium air defense (HIMAD) medium tactical air defense platform capable of downing aircraft and ballistic missiles. Israel's Patriot missile systems have been technologically upgraded since entering service.
- Arrow missile, an Israeli-US-developed theatre missile defence (TMD) system meant to stop ballistic missiles in the stratosphere
- David's Sling missile, advanced ultimate medium- to long-range atmospheric missile defense interceptor. Capable of downing of any kind of advanced tactical ballistic missiles, advanced cruise missiles, large-caliber rockets, UAV, UCAV, fighter and bomber jets.
- Iron Dome, a short-range air defense system designed to defend against rockets, artillery shells, and precision-guided munitions. The first battery became operational in May 2010.
- Iron Beam, a laser defense system designed for use against short-range rockets and mortars, as well as UAVs.
Although it is part of the Air Force, the command is organizationally structured in a way similar to the Artillery Corps. The current commander is Brigadier-General Shahar Sochat (replacing Doron Gavish), who is directly subordinate to the commander of the Air Force.
- Raved, Ahiya (23 September 2014). "IDF: Syrian fighter jet shot down over Golan". ynet.co.il.
- Harel, Amos (23 September 2014). "IDF shoots down Syrian fighter plane infiltrating Israeli territory". Haaretz. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
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