Enemy missiles versus Israel’s air defenses – An insider’s look at the evolving arms race

A long-standing arms race is underway between Israel and its enemies.  Among many aspects, the arms race includes steps by radical actors Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as Israel’s chief state foe, Iran, to stockpile ever-growing arsenals of rockets and missiles.

They point these at Israeli cities, infrastructure, and military targets. A growing number of these projectiles are GPS-guided, accurate weapons.

Israel, for its part, is busy preparing. Its own force build-up is intense.

Very few people in the world are as qualified as Brig.-Gen. (Ret.) Shachar Shohat, former commander of the Israel Air Force’s air defenses, to give readers a glimpse into this arms race, particuarly into the evolution of Israel’s air defenses.


Brig.-Gen. Shachar Shohat, former commander of IAF Air Defense

Shochat’s analyis (link below), takes a comprehensive look at Israel’s air defenses, against the background of the changing threats they are designed to counter.

Shohat’s latest on this issue is available here. (For part 1 of his analysis on this issue, see here).


The arrival of guided enemy projectiles boosts the ability to strike targets. In the past, Israeli air defenders had to worry about the quantity of rockets in the arsenals of Hezbollah and Hamas. Now, they must think about how to pluck the one rocket heading toward the IDF military headquarters in Tel Aviv from a barrage of rockets in the air at any given time.

These threats are joined by Iran’s developing ballistic missile program, and could be compounded by new, radical actors, that appear in an unstable Middle East, each with their own projectile capabilities.

In response, Israel has developed several layers of defense. Not to be confused with Israel’s range of offensive capabilities, these defensive tools are designed to block incoming threats and defend population centers and national strategic sites.

Their appearance in the toolbox of the IDF represents a relatively new understanding by the defense establishment of the importance of investing in capabilities to defend the home front.