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Iron dome. One of three defense systems Photo: AFP
Iron dome. One of three defense systems Photo: AFP
 
 

IDF sets up Magic Wand Unit

Air Force lays groundwork for new operational unit that will protect central Israel against medium, long-range missiles aimed at country's 'soft belly'

Yoav Zitun
Published: 10.26.11, 14:42 / Israel News

 

The IDF is perparing to establish a new unit that will address missile threats on densely populated areas in central Israel.

 

After the deployment of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which has provided southern Israel with limited yet efficient protection from Qassam and Grad missiles, the defense establishment is forging ahead with developing the Magic Wand system, designed to thwart mid and long-rage missiles.

 

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Over the past few weeks, the Air Force has completed laying the groundwork for the Magic Wand Unit, which will operate the new missile defense system.

 

An official with the IAF noted that the unit's personnel were already working alongside the defense industries, which are developing the system, in order to ensure its compatibility with the operational needs on the ground.

 

צילום: רוייטרס, צלמי ynet, עריכה:ניר (שוקו) כהן, אלי סטרול

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Magic Wand will be able to operate under all weather conditions, and its own intercepting missiles will be capable of changing course in mid-flight. The system is mostly designed against long-range missiles fired from Gaza and Lebanon.

 

Like the Iron Dome defense system, Magic Wand will also be deployed according to operational needs and Israel's current threats.

 

The information about the launching of a missile from enemy territory will be delivered to the Magic Wand system from the ballistic imaging center, which can detect the launching of projectiles toward Israel from all fronts, and determine which defense system should be activated.

 

Defend Israel's 'soft belly'

According to defense establishment assessments, Hamas and Hezbollah already possess medium-range missiles, which can reach Israel's "soft belly" and can potentially be intercepted by the Magic Wand system. Defense officials are not ruling out the possibility that these missiles could be used against Israel should another conflict erupt.

 

The Magic Wand system will also be able to intercept long-range missiles, including the Iranian Shahab, if it is not intercepted in space beforehand.

 

The price for a single Magic Wand projectile can reach up to $1 million, but the defense establishment stressed that the cost in damages created by a missile that could be intercepted by the system, is greater.

 

Since the deployment of Iron Dome, the IDF has reported a sharp increase in demand for operational positions relating to the defense system, and is estimating that the Magic Wand will also become especially popular among new recruits.

 

The Iron Dome and Magic Wand are two of the three systems Israel is developing and deploying as part of its multilayered missile and rocket defense apparatus. A third system – "Arrow 3" – is designed to thwart ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere, which carry nuclear heads.

 

 

 

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