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...

  • Features Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    Unpacking the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict and Its Ripple Effect on Israel’s Region

    JNS.org – Aside from Israel itself, those with a vested interest in the Jewish state are accustomed to tracking developments related to Middle East players such as Iran, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. But much global attention has recently focused on the Caucasus region at the Europe-Asia border, specifically on the suddenly intensified violence between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh area of western Azerbaijan. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, while not taking place in Israel’s immediate neighborhood, does have what one scholar called […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    Earth Day 2016: Israel Shines in Water Technology, Recycling, Renewable Energy

    JNS.org – On Friday, April 22, 196 nations across the world mark Earth Day, the annual day dedicated to environmental protection that was enacted in 1970. Not to be forgotten on this day is Israel, which is known as the “start-up nation” for its disproportionate amount of technological innovation, including in the area of protecting the environment. For Earth Day 2016, JNS.org presents a sampling of the Jewish state’s internal achievements and global contributions in the environmental realm. Water conservation Israeli […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture World New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    New Documentary Explores Holocaust Humor, Role That Laughter Played in Death Camps

    Holocaust humor and the role that laughter played in the lives of Jews during World War II are the focus of a documentary that made its world premiere on Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. In The Last Laugh, first- and second-generation survivors, as well as famous Jewish and non-Jewish comedians, discuss their thoughts on when joking about the death camps is appropriate or taboo. “Nazi humor, that’s OK. Holocaust humor, no,” Jewish comedic giant, actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks says in the film. “Anything I […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    Tragedy Culminates in ‘Celebration,’ Says Israeli Author Who Lost Son to Terror

    JNS.org – Sherri Mandell’s life was devastated on May 8, 2001, when her 13-year-old son Koby was murdered by terrorists on the outskirts of the Israeli Jewish community of Tekoa. Yet Mandell not only shares the story of her loss, but also celebrates the lessons she has learned from tragedy. Indeed, “celebrate” is this Israeli-American author’s word choice. Her second book, The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration (Toby Press), came out earlier this year. The lesson: in every celebration, there is […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    For Alan Gross, Cuban Prison Didn’t Harden His Heart or Weaken His Ambition

    JNS.org – Alan Gross used to be nothing more to me than a tragic headline. When I started my position at this news service in July 2011, Gross had been imprisoned in Cuba since December 2009 for what that country called “crimes against the state.” Gross, a subcontractor for the United States Agency for International Development, went to Cuba to help the Jewish community there access the Internet. After his arrest, he received a trial he describes as a “B movie,” […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Features New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    New Movie Shows How Global Economic Instability Grew From Very Local Greed

    JNS.org – When I saw the recent Academy Award-winning film “The Big Short,” I was struck by the sheer genius of the financiers who devised the schemes and packaged the loans for resale, but it left me with unanswered questions about how the properties these loans represented were moved. “The Big Short” was largely about paper transactions, big money, and wealthy investors, and it mildly touched on the way the actual end-users — the home buyers and brokers — played into this […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Psychiatry and the Spirit

    Why do we think so negatively about psychiatrists that we still insult them by calling them shrinks? Some medics might be quacks, but we don’t generally refer to them as witches! Shrinks; The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, is a sobering account of how psychiatry has swung from a marginal, unscientific mixture of weird theories into one of the most common and pervasive forms of treatment of what are commonly called “disorders of the mind.” Is it […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    At Forbes Summit in Israel, Entrepreneurship Is a ‘Common Language’

    JNS.org – Nine months ago, Seth Cohen, director of network initiatives for the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and Randall Lane, editor of Forbes Magazine, were schmoozing about the “vibrancy of Tel Aviv and soul of Jerusalem,” as Lane put it. They dreamed about how they could bring young and innovative millennials to the so-called “start-up nation.” From April 3-7, Forbes turned that dream into a reality. Israel played host to the first-ever Forbes Under 30 EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) […]

    Read more →