For All The Hype, Does Israel’s Iron Dome Even Work?
August 21, 2014
by Dylan Scott
As war between Israelis and Palestinians raged in Gaza again in recent weeks, President Barack Obama signed a bill to provide another $225 million to Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. But what if the U.S. government is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a system that isn’t nearly as effective as it is claimed to be?
It seems unthinkable by the official record. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest praised the system by saying it has “saved countless Israeli lives.” Time magazine wrote in 2012, a year after the system’s premiere, that Iron Dome was the “most-effective, most-tested missile shield the world has ever seen.”
The federal government has so far given its closest Mideast ally about $700 million to develop the system, the Defense Department told TPM, and the Israeli military says Iron Dome — which fires missiles to take down incoming rockets heading into Israeli population centers — has a success rate of about 85 percent.
But independent research by an MIT professor who specializes in ballistics has called that official figure into question. In fact, according to the analysis by Ted Postol, the Iron Dome system might actually disarm as little as 5 percent of the rockets it attempts to intercept. The number could be higher, depending on a number of variables, but the bottom line argument is that the system is not nearly as successful in stopping rockets being fired into Israel as official sources suggest.
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