Israel's soon-to-be-deployed anti-missile system, capable of intercepting barrages of rockets, may shoot down one of the biggest strategic threats facing the country in recent decades.
After successfully completing its final tests this week, the Iron Dome system, providing an answer to short-range rockets and artillery shells, is planned to be integrated into the army within six months, officials said.
The unique cutting-edge technology will be deployed along the border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, where militants have fired thousands of projectiles against southern Israel over the past decade.
In a second stage, it will be deployed along the border with Lebanon where the militant group Hezbollah is said to have an arsenal of more than 40,000 rockets.
The Iron Dome will join the Arrow long-range ballistic missile defence system in an ambitious multi-layered programme to protect Israeli cities from rockets and missiles fired from Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, Syria and Iran.
A third system specifically aimed at countering medium-range missiles is planned to be developed in the coming years, the ministry said.
According to officials, the Iron Dome marks a major strategic breakthrough for Israel, which has struggled in the face of rockets fired from Lebanon since the early 1980s.