Senior Policy Director John Erath spoke with Business Insider about Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.
Still, like any anti-missile defense system, it has its limitations, John Erath, Senior Policy Director for the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, told Insider Wednesday.
“Iron dome has been very effective against small-scale attacks, which are the norm,” Erath said.
“In the past, it has not been on the scale that we have seen last week. This is new territory,” he said.
“That’s generally the challenge with missile defense systems. You can overwhelm it by shooting more missiles in various sectors,” said Erath.
“So the math remains very much on the side of the attacker,” he said.
While some have reported that Hamas may have switched to a new missile system known as Rajum that could have made the rockets harder to intercept, Erath thinks that’s not likely to be the case.
“It doesn’t really matter what the brand name is, it will have relatively the same performance,” he said.
“That’s a question for the decision-makers in Congress and in the Knesset to make if they feel that it is cost-effective,” he said.
“Missile defense skeptics would say that the fact that even a few missiles are getting through shows that it’s a waste of money and that it can never be perfected,” said Erath.
On the other hand, having to stand up against a barrage of missiles “will provide some more experience that missile defense advocates would say would help improve their systems for the future,” said Erath.
“If I was a military planner [for Hamas], I would base my consumption of the stockpiles on what kind of kind of conflict I was planning for. And that’s something that we don’t know,” Erath said.
“As a diplomat, I can speculate that this was done to achieve a particular set of short-term objectives, which would indicate that the bulk of whatever capability Hamas had would have been used in the initial day or two,” he said.
It’s also not clear how Israel’s stockpiles are faring. Israel has asked the US to help it replenish Interceptor missile stocks, which President Joe Biden has said on Tuesday he would do.
“This could either mean they are running out or they want to make sure they are not running out,” said Erath.
One of the unique things about Iron Dome to date has been its ability to learn as it goes on and become more effective.
“So this will provide some more experience that missile defense advocates would say would help improve their systems for the future,” added Erath. Read more