Israeli Air Defense Command

The Israeli Air Defense Command (in Hebrew: מערך ההגנה האווירית) is the Israeli Air and Space Force unit responsible for the surface front of Israel's air defense, complementing the air defense provided by Fighter squadrons. Initially a part of the IDF Artillery Corps, since 1970 the Air Defense Command has been subordinate to the Israeli Air and Space Force.

The Israel Air Defense Command unit badge and symbol
Flag of the Air Defense Command


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 operated by the Air Force's surface-to-air units. In the 1970s, the entire Air Defense Network was merged with the Air Force.

The Air Defense Command operated many United States-developed short-range system such as the MIM-23 Hawk, the MIM-72 Chaparral and M163 VADS ("Hovet"). The Air Defense Command scored world premier interceptions with most of these systems, mainly against the Syrian Air Force.

Due to increasing rocket threat from the Gaza Strip, Israeli-developed Iron Dome C-RAM system became operational in 2011. In 2011 the system scored its first interception and since then intercepted hundreds of short- and medium-ranged rockets, fired by Hamas from the Gaza Strip, gaining world acclaim for its effectiveness and success.[1][2][3][4]

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.[5][6] This was the first operational shot down of manned enemy aircraft for the Patriot in the world. Few months earlier, Israeli Patriot batteries shot down 2 Hamas drones.

Arrow 2 TMD missile system
Iron Dome air defense system

Weapons and equipmentEdit

  • MIM-104 Patriot "Yahalom", 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.[7] During 2014 Israeli "Yahalom" MIM-104D batteries scored the first shot downs for the system in the world, against enemy aircraft (unmanned and manned).
  • Arrow missile, an Israeli developed - US funding theatre missile defence (TMD) system meant to stop ballistic missiles in the stratosphere. Israel has batteries of Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 missiles.
  • David's Sling missile, advanced 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.[8]


Although a part of the Air and Space Force, the command has the same unit structure as the Artillery Corps. Its current commander[9] is Brigadier-General Ran Kochav (Nickname: Ranco), who is directly subordinate to the commander of the Air and Space Force.


  1. ^ Ori Lewis (22 August 2011). "Israel lauds success of Iron Dome missile interceptor". Reuters. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  2. ^ Clay Dillow (19 November 2012). "How Israel's 'Iron Dome' Knocks Almost Every Incoming Missile Out Of The Sky". Popular Science. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  3. ^ Robert Johnson (19 November 2012). "How Israel Developed Such A Shockingly Effective Rocket Defense System". Business Insider. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  4. ^ Thompson, Mark (19 November 2012). "Iron Dome: A Missile Shield that Works". Time. Time Magazine website. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  5. ^ Raved, Ahiya (23 September 2014). "IDF: Syrian fighter jet shot down over Golan".
  6. ^ Harel, Amos (23 September 2014). "IDF shoots down Syrian fighter plane infiltrating Israeli territory". Haaretz. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  7. ^ "IAF upgrading Patriot missile defense system".
  8. ^ "Peretz to Barak: Deploy anti-missile system near Gaza".
  9. ^ US Air Defense in Israel, Release date 04.03.2019