According to Ariel Shir, head of operational systems in the Israeli navy, the missile defense system has successfully passed trials, effectively destroying "several" missiles.
The system is intended to shoot down short-range missiles, similar to those routinely fired from the Gaza strip. According to Shir, the maritime variant, unlike its ground analog, is capable of operating aboard a ship at speed, taking down projectiles fired from another moving vessel.
He opined that it would take "a little more time" to fully integrate the system into the Israeli navy.
The terrestrial-based Iron Dome missile-defense system has been operational since 2011. Its effectiveness is officially estimated at 80-90%, although some argue that the real number is radically lower, having an effectiveness rate of only 5%. One of the system's weak points is its low accuracy against multiple targets. Another downside is the relatively high cost of firing, despite reductions from around $35,000 per shot in 2012, to only several thousands of dollars per firing in 2014. Despite the cost, officials believe that without the missile shield, local damage would be far greater.
Israel has a number of commodity assets at sea, including a major offshore gas rig, and any destruction to the rig could be potentially damaging to the Israeli economy, as it provides a significant amount of the country's energy needs.