Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Iron Dome’s Cost-Effectiveness

March 21, 2012 5:28 pm 0 comments

Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system in use against Palestinian rocket. Photo: IDF.

Israel’s missile defense apparatus includes the David’s Sling, Arrow and Iron Dome systems. While David’s Sling is expected to become operational in 2013 and is “…capable of engaging aircraft, cruise missiles, ballistic and guided missiles as well as long range ballistic rockets,” The Arrow is designed to intercept medium range missiles.

The Iron Dome is described by its manufacturer, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, as being able to counter “…short range rockets and 155 mm artillery shell threats with ranges of up to 70 km in all weather conditions…” but does not attempt to intercept missiles falling into unpopulated areas.

The United States has provided “$400 million toward developing and producing the system since 2007″ and Israel is considering exporting Iron Dome batteries to fund even more production of Iron Dome batteries for domestic use.

Iron Dome is the world’s first combat proven Counter-Rocket, Artillery & Missile (C-RAM) missile system. The IDF claims that the three Iron Dome batteries deployed in southern Israel “knocked out close to 90 percent of the short-range Qassam and longer-range…Grad rockets”, which were launched from Gaza recently. The IDF plans to have up to nine Iron Dome batteries operational by mid-2013.

Even though Iron Dome can successfully deal with rockets fired from Gaza, it is unlikely to have the same rate of success in a future war against Hezbollah and Iran. Hezbollah and Iran are believed to possess missiles that can target most of Israel. Iron Dome is not designed to intercept large long-range missiles like the David’s Sling and Arrow systems. Both David’s Sling and Arrow are reportedly not yet operational.

Each Iron Dome system “costs more than $100 million” and “each Iron Dome anti-missile missile costs $50,000.” Meanwhile the “primitive” Kassam rocket costs Palestinian terrorists “only a few hundred dollars”.

In a “nightmare scenario” envisioned by the IDF, Israel could be hit by up to 400 missiles daily. Intercepting 400 missiles would cost Israel at least $20 million daily. The 2006 war against Hezbollah lasted 34 days and if a future war lasts that long, intercepting all the missiles would cost more than $700 million, assuming a 90% interception rate. This is in addition to the approximately one billion dollars that would cost to build 9 Iron Dome batteries by 2013.

A recent Jerusalem Post article justifies the use of Iron Dome by listing its benefits. These include saving lives, preventing damage to property and potential profits from exporting Iron Dome systems. This article also mentions that Palestinian terrorists will be exposed to Israeli helicopters and planes when firing rockets. However, intercepting a $800 Kassam rocket with a $50,000 Iron Dome missile does not make financial sense, especially if Israel had to intercept hundreds or thousands of missiles. In other words, Israel would have to spend more than $60 for every $1 spent by Palestinian terrorists.

A Heritage Foundation article dated September 2011, makes a comprehensive argument that the Iron Dome interceptor missile does not have to be cheaper than the enemy missile to be cost-effective. Since rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists are not accurate, Iron Dome only needs to intercept approximately 20% of the incoming missiles. This article also mentions that valuable targets protected by Iron Dome, cost more than the Iron Dome interceptor missiles; although no figures are provided to back up this claim. Iron Dome provides Israel with diplomatic and military options when responding to a rocket barrage. In the past Israel was faced with the option of either absorbing the rocket barrage or conducting a military offensive in response to the rocket barrage.

The increasing range and frequency of rockets being fired from Gaza, is the result of Ariel Sharon’s disastrous decision to withdraw from Gaza. In addition to creating several other problems for Israel, the Gaza withdrawal has allowed Hamas to continue smuggling weapons. Instead of trying to find creative solutions to rocket fire by building systems such as Iron Dome, Israel would be better off trying to find a permanent solution. The permanent solution would be to re-create the situation that existed in Gaza prior to 2005. If there is a permanent IDF presence in Gaza, especially along the border with Egypt, Hamas will not be able to smuggle weapons or fire rockets into Israel. Then the construction and maintenance of expensive anti-missile systems would not be necessary. Otherwise Hamas will continue to smuggle weapons into Gaza and the new Egyptian government which is clearly hostile to Israel, is unlikely to take any action to stop it. The IDF will then be forced to develop increasingly more sophisticated anti-missile systems to deal with a growing missile threat from Gaza.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Actor Zachary Levi said casting directors have denied him roles for being “too Jewish,” despite the fact that he is not a Jew, the New York Daily News‘ Confidenti@l reported on Wednesday. “I guess they were looking for more of a corn-fed, white boy look,” he said. “My family is from f****** Indiana! Come on, I’m like dying here!” The Thor star clarified that he is Welsh, and that Levi is actually his middle name, while his real last name is Pugh. He said he […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    The secret of Chabad’s worldwide success is revealed by veteran Chabad shliach (emissary) Rabbi David Eliezrie in his new book, The Secret of Chabad. The Chabad movement was founded by Rabbi Schnur Zalman of Liadi, Belarus, in 1775. Years later it came to the US with the arrival of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in 1940, after his escape from Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Upon his arrival in New York, a number of his co-religionists advised him that there was no place for traditional […]

    Read more →