Engineers at mPrest Systems Ltd., based at Kiryat Arie in Petah Tikva, developed the brains for the Iron Dome’s missile interception system.
mPrest CEO Natan Barak, a retired Israel Navy colonel and head of the naval software house for IT & C4I systems, founded the company. Development of the Iron Dome’s command and control system took a year, and on the basis of the successful close collaboration between mPrest’s staff and Iron Dome’s chief contractor, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., Rafael acquired 50% of the company in 2010. Barak owns 25%, and other partners own the rest.
“We knew with certainty that we would succeed with this project, otherwise we wouldn’t have begun it,” Barak told “Globes” today. “All along, I saw our step-by-step progress in the project. It was a miracle at some level. At first, the Americans told us that it wouldn’t work, and yet, it works. I am a believer. I personally believe that this is a supreme achievement.”
mPrest’s command and control system makes an early identification of the target missile, calculates its trajectory, and where it will hit. Within one second, on average, it offers hundreds of interception solutions and picks the best one, with preference for a high altitude interception, ideally over open ground.
If a missile is fired at a town farther away from Gaza, such as toward metropolitan Tel Aviv, the system has several seconds to choose the interception. “It provides an excellent response in detecting fairly small items that are hard to see, and verifying that they are a rocket and not something else,” says Barak.
mPrest uses generic command and control technology, which the company previously used in the command and control system for Ituran Location and Control Ltd. and Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) . “With a little effort, in less than a year, we were able to adapt the capabilities for the Iron Dome system,” says Barak.
Looking at the hundreds of interceptions of incoming rockets by Iron Dome batteries in the past few days over cities in the south and metropolitan Tel Aviv, Barak realizes that the system has saved many lives in both Israel and Gaza. “Gaza too should be pleased with the success of Iron Dome. Without it, the IDF would now be in the midst of a major ground operation and there would be many more Palestinian dead. We have not yet fully used the Iron Dome’s capabilities, and these capabilities will be expanded and the percentage of interceptions will only go up,” he concludes.