Thursday Mar 21, 201301:28 PM GMT
US, Israeli missile experts report Iron Dome's success rate as low as zero
Israeli soldiers take cover as an Iron Dome anti-missile battery fires away projectiles (file photo)
Israeli soldiers take cover as an Iron Dome anti-missile battery fires away projectiles (file photo)
Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:56AM
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It’s very hard to see how it (Iron Dome’s success rate) could be more than 5 or 10 percent.”

MIT physicist Theodore Postol.

As American President Barack Obama hailed the ‘resounding success’ of Israel’s US-financed Iron Dome antimissile system on the first of his tour there, missile experts have newly unveiled that Iron Dome’s success rate during the regime’s November war on Gaza was as low as zero.


While Obama used his Wednesday’s tour of an Iron Dome installation, “celebrating a technological wonder built with the help of American dollars” and seeking to showcase US support of the Zionist regime, there was no mention about the “intensifying debate” on whether the promotion of the system’s success rate was “more illusory than real,” says a The New York Times article on Thursday.

Contrary to Israeli claims that Iron Dome’s success rate in destroying incoming Palestinian rockets during the regime’s massive military strikes against the blockaded Gaza strip was 90 percent, studies by weapons experts in the US and Israel suggest that the anti-missile system “destroyed no more than 40 percent” of the rockets “and perhaps far fewer,” the report emphasizes.

Many rockets, they argue, were “merely crippled or deflected” but not destroyed as claimed, allowing intact or dying rockets to fall on populated areas.

Following the wildly exaggerated claims by the Israeli regime about Iron Dome’s success rate, the US Congress also described the system as “very effective,” pledging an additional USD680 million for deployments through 2015.

According to the report, Richard Lloyd, a weapons expert who has written a critique of Iron Dome for engineers and weapons designers, and Theodore Postol, a physicist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who helped reveal major Patriot antimissile failures in 1991, analyzed new videos on the performance of the Israeli anti-missile system and found that Iron Dome “repeatedly failed to hit its targets head-on.”

“It’s very hard to see how it could be more than 5 or 10 percent,” the report quotes Dr. Postol as saying.

Moreover, the daily adds, Mordechai Shefer, an Israeli rocket scientist formerly with Rafael, Iron Dome’s maker, studied about two dozen videos and, in a study published last month, “concluded that the kill rate was zero.”

Meanwhile, the paper underlines that Iron Dome’s performance is the key to a potential Israeli decision whether to take military action against the Islamic Republic as it has repeatedly threatened, hinging on its estimate of possible retaliatory costs, “including damage inflicted by rockets fired from southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip,” not to mention Iran’s own long-range ballistic missiles.

Amid the growing anxiety over any Iranian retaliatory strikes on Israel in case of an American or an Israeli attack against the country, as often threatened by officials of both allies as a ploy aimed at pressuring Tehran into abandoning its right to use peaceful nuclear technology, “the Israeli public saw Iron dome’s (reported) early successes” against rocket fire from Gaza “as proof” that it can tolerate retaliatory strikes, the report adds, citing Israeli antimissile program’s founder, Uzi Rubin.

Following the Gaza cease-fire last year, the report notes, Lloyd began scrutinizing “hundreds of online videos of Iron Dome in action,” looking for “unambiguous signs of success: pairs of fireballs (at night) or smoke clouds (during the day) that formed as speeding fragments blew up a warhead.”

However, “he found very few,” the daily adds, citing Lloyd.

Lloyds method of video analysis won scientific backing during the 1991 US-led Persian Gulf war against Iraq, as the American military boasted that its Patriot interceptors, built to protect Israel against potential missile attacks by Iraqi dictator at the time Saddam Hussein, had succeeded 96 percent of the time.

MIT scientist, however, “analyzed broadcast videos and found only misses,” according to the Time’s report.

In Israel, meanwhile, Lloyd won support from Reuven Pedatzur, a military analyst and former fighter pilot “long skeptical of his country’s antimissile claims,” who found an Israeli police report saying that 109 rockets launched from Gaza - roughly twice the military’s figure - hit urban areas.

Pedatzur further discovered “evidence of wide destruction” inflicted by rockets fired by Palestinian Hamas militants.

A Finance Ministry report registered 3,165 claims of property damage, “including to cars and buildings in cities like Ashdod and Beersheba, both protected by Iron Dome battalions.”

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