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...

  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Says Playing Muslim Character in ‘Tyrant’ Has Made Her More ‘Hopeful, Humble’

    Israeli Actress Says Playing Muslim Character in ‘Tyrant’ Has Made Her More ‘Hopeful, Humble’

    Israeli actress Moran Atias said that playing a Muslim woman in the hit FX series Tyrant has changed her outlook. “Educating myself about a different culture has made me more hopeful and humble, that we’re all the same,” the Jewish actress, 35, said during an interview with AOL Build. Atias plays Leila Al-Fayeed, the strong and politically minded wife of the president of Abbudin, a fictional Middle Eastern country run by a dictatorial family. The Israeli-born former model, who earned the title of Miss Globe International […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Jewish Fashionistas From Around the World to Tour ‘Chic Side of Israel’

    Jewish Fashionistas From Around the World to Tour ‘Chic Side of Israel’

    A delegation of 35 Jewish fashion industry mavens from around the world will travel to Israel later this month to “discover the chic side” of the country, 5 Town Jewish Times reported. The eight-day tour, organized by the Maryland-based Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) and the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, will include visits to key fashion sites and meetings with some of the country’s top fashion designers, merchandisers and marketers. Participants will also attend a JWRP Fashion Week event in Tel Aviv. JWRP said the trip is […]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Granddaughter of Holocaust Survivors Honored to Represent Israel at 2016 Olympic Games

    Granddaughter of Holocaust Survivors Honored to Represent Israel at 2016 Olympic Games

    Pro golfer Laetitia Beck said she is honored to have been selected to represent Israel at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil largely because of her grandparents, who survived the Holocaust. “Everywhere I go, I want people to know where I’m from, my background and where my family came from because of the struggle they had to go through,” she told the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). “Every week when I play and I see the Israeli flag, it brings me a lot […]

    Read more →