Israel’s Iron Dome Intercepts Rockets from Gaza

The Israeli military has posted video reportedly showing its Iron Dome missile defense system intercepting rockets fired by Palestinian fighters in Gaza.

Mid-air explosions can been seen against the dark of night and wailing sirens can be heard on the minute-long clip posted on Tuesday by idfnadesk, the official YouTube page of the Israel Defense Forces.

“This is footage of the Iron Dome system intercepting a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza at the Israeli port city of Ashdod,” states a description accompanying the video.

Tensions between the two sides have escalated in recent days after a teenage Palestinian boy was killed following the abduction and killings last month of three Israelis teens.

Almost 100 rockets were fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Monday, according to the Associated Press. After a brief morning lull, the rocket fire resumed on Tuesday, with more than 15 rockets launched toward southern Israel, including the cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, AP reported.

Five were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, according to the news wire. (Later reports put the number of intercepted rockets at 29.)

Meanwhile, the Israeli military launched an offensive, called “Operation Protective Edge,” striking at least 50 sites in Gaza and mobilizing troops for a possible ground invasion aimed at stopping the rocket barrage, AP reported.

The missile defense system is made by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and funded largely by the U.S. It’s designed to defend cities from short-range rockets and artillery fired from distances of as far as 43.5 miles (70 kilometers).

The House of Representatives last month passed a defense authorization bill that would authorize $351 million for the Iron Dome program in fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1.

While that figure is almost double the amount the White House requested for the effort, the legislation would also require that American companies get some of the funding and for the technology to be shared with the Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency.

The Senate hasn’t yet taken up the measure.

To date, the U.S. has spent almost three-quarters of a billion dollars on the Iron Dome system.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • david

    $150,000+ missile to destroy a $10 rocket or $5 mortar. I guess they don’t care since the American taxpayer is footing the bill.

    • Bernard

      The rockets are not $10. One of the key goals in the development of Iron Dome was that the missile costs have to be less than the cost of the weapons they are intercepting. Otherwise the enemy would win the war by attrition.

      • Curt

        Iron Dome rockets cost more than the rockets they are intercepting but so what? First, they don’t intercept every rocket, only the ones hitting something valuable. Second, they have a deterrent effect, because the enemy doesn’t know how many rockets will get through, but they know they are in for a world of hurt either way.
        Finally, it is not about how much they enemy missile costs but how valuable the asset you are guarding is. If you save millions by spending hundreds of thousands, you come out ahead.

        • Bernard

          Good points, although the costs of the enemy weapon is still a factor. If they can send more missiles than you can afford to shoot down, then victory by attrition is inevitable. However, the inaccuracy of the weapon is also a factor in the cost of attacking a target.

          The way I figure it, the key for the attacker is the cost spent to destroy a specific target. If they only have say a 20% (1 out of every 5) chance of hitting then they will need to send 5x as many missiles to guarantee a hit, meaning that each target will cost the attacker 5x the price of a missile. Let’s say a missile costs 5000, so now the cost of hitting one target is now $25,000. If they add in Iron Dome, 90% (9 out of 10) of those missiles get shot down. Now to make the math easier, say the attacker plans to strike 10 targets at a cost of $250,000 (for 50 missiles, 5 per target), and each target is worth $500,000 to the defender. The defender must launch 10 intercepting missiles at a cost of $1.5 million ($150,000 per interceptor), but because 1 out of every 10 fails, the defender still loses a $500,000 asset at a total cost of $2 million. Now the attacker knows that if they spend $250k, they can cause $2 million in losses on the defender. If the defender can maintain 8x the funding of the attacker, then the defender will survive. However if they cannot, then all the attacker has to do is keep up the pressure until the defender runs out of money. Of course when the defender retaliates then they may be able to cause economic losses for the attacker as well.

          So we end up with the following formula: (* is multiply, / is divide)

          (defender missile cost + asset cost * (1 – defender missile accuracy)) / (attacker missile cost / attacker missile accuracy) = defense cost ratio

          Or we can abbreviate that as:
          (dmc + ac * (1 – dma)) / (amc / ama) = dcr

          Which in my above example looks like:
          ($150,000 + $500,000 * (1 – 90%)) / ($5,000/20%) = 8

          Step by step:

          ($150,000 + $500,000 * (1 – 90%)) / $25,000 = defense cost ratio
          ($150,000 + $500,000 * (0.1)) / $25,000 = defense cost ratio
          ($150,000 + $50,000) / $25,000 = defense cost ratio
          $200,000 / $25,000 = defense cost ratio
          8 = defense cost ratio

          Of course the real numbers are likely very different from this and it doesn’t factor in retaliatory attacks by the defender.

          So while your statement “If you save millions by spending hundreds of thousands, you come out ahead” could be true. It assumes that you can afford your current rate of losses. If someday you can’t pay those hundreds of thousands you will lose everything.

          • Amos Ashani

            As someone living in Israel, I am rather amazed at this discussion — especially the mathematical formulas used to calculate the value of saving lives. I’m in the center of the country (not near Gaza), and every day and night, I hear (and sometimes see) the dozens of explosions of Hamas rockets being intercepted by Iron Dome (in the south of the country, it’s much more…). As Iron Dome only goes after rockets that the guidance system estimates will reach populated areas, that’s dozens of potentially fatal rocket strikes in populated areas avoided every single day and night. I don’t care if every Iron Dome rocket costs $1 million; as long as I know it’s preventing my family from getting killed, IT IS WORTH IT. I wonder if you’d be applying these mathematical formulas if even ONE of these rockets were being fired at your home town in the US, Canada, Europe (wherever you live)…

      • Deuterium2H

        Bernard, that is ridiculous. There is NO FRIGGIN’ way that an Iron Dome Tamir interceptor missile is anywhere near as cheap as a Qassam or Grad rocket. In fact, each Tamir interceptor is at least an order of magnitude greater in cost than a Grad, and almost two orders of magnitude greater than a Qassam.

        However, you are missing the entire point of Missile Defense, when you are relating it to a war of attrition. The Iron Dome system only engages incoming missiles that are calculated to hit populated areas and/or high value locations, installations, etc. Due to the stupendous inaccuracy of the Palestinian and Hamas missiles, that leaves a lot of targets which are determined to be non-threats, and fall below the criteria for engagement.

        Second, as soon as the terrorists’ missiles are fired, their launch position is determined. That makes any enemy missile crew who do not close up shop and run away, soon after they have fired off a rocket or two…a dead missile crew.

        Furthermore, the relative VALUE of a missile defense system, and each interceptor is measured against the cost of casualties, lives lost, as well as damage to infrastructure and property. That is why, in the calculus of Ballistic Missile Defense, the cost of the ABM interceptor does not have to match the cost of the target it is engaging…nor do BMD systems presume to even try.

        EDIT: Sorry Curt, I inadvertently reiterated points you made in your reply. In my rush to reply to Bernard, I didn’t read your post. Just checked back and saw your earlier comments. So, I agree with you :)

        • Bernard

          Good points, I once saw an article about Iron Dome that explained the economics. I must have skimmed the details too quickly. I should have simply stated that the economics of operating Iron Dome was a critical factor in the design, to prevent vulnerability to a war of attrition.

          • mfiner71

            The point isn’t to destroy every rocket at all. It is correct to say that a Tamir rocket is more expensive than the rockets raining down. The way it is made relatively economical, is via the radar and programming behind everything. As I understand it, the system calculates the trajectory of the rocket. If it falls in a barren area where there will be no damage, no rocket is fired. Only if the trajectory is shown to hit something deemed valuable (and I don’t know what they use to determine that basis). The cost savings is also in the prevention of physical damage and/or loss of life. I’m sure someone with an actuarial background could probably benefit assess the cost calculations involved.

        • Curt

          No problem, we used to call that repeating for possible penetration.

        • jd

          @Amos, yeah. Course you don’t care what it costs seeing as you don’t foot the bill maybe if the Palestinians had any hope you wouldn’t oppress and steal thier land u wouldn’t need to milk America for every dollar?

    • tmb2

      It’s not the value of the interceptor, but rather the value of the target being saved. If I fired a $100k missile to protect several million dollars worth of property and dozens of lives it’s worth the expense.

    • isaac Kallberg

      a $150,000+ to defend against a $10 rocket or $5. That could cause millions in damage or kill hundreds of innocent people what is a bigger waste of money you tell me?

    • ronaldo

      It was not built on US money.


    • bethesdadog

      That’s foolish. Most of the cost has always been borne by the Israelis. The US has subsidized some, but not even half the cost. Further, the cost has been lowered to around $50K. It has probably saved many dozens, perhaps hundreds, of lives. It more than makes up for its cost.

    • Ernie

      You miss the point. That “$10 rocket or mortar” can cause great damage – plus countless human lives of which there’s no price tag. So, a system like Iron Dome is essential (for us American tax payers as well – don’t forget the North Koreans and we do benefit from Israeli technologies that we fund). Most importantly, if you don’t agree just put yourself in the place of the folks in the receiving end of the missiles being fired from Gaza and ask yourself this same question! I’m willing to predict that price tags won’t enter into your survival equation and hope that there is an Iron Dome system to protect your behind.

  • Blake

    I’d say that those guys where pretty calm considering that they were stuck on a boat with rockets exploding over their heads.

    • Amos Ashani

      Trust me, you get used to it. Once you’ve witnessed a few interceptions (I’ve seen or heard several dozens already just in the past few days — one just above and loud enough to make the building I was in shake), you start getting more comfortable (for lack of a better term…) with it. Especially with the high success rate, knowing that the overwhelming majority of the rockets fired will be intercepted — gives you a sense of security (hopefully it will not turn into a false sense of security…).

  • Ben

    Wait… So we pay to develop Iron Dome and we don’t even have access to the tech ourselves yet?

    We spend way too much money on Israel..

    • Joe_the_Nipper

      So go into politics and change things, Ben…

      • Ben

        Too many politicians as it is. I prefer to promote and vote for the good ones.

      • Joe_the_Nipper

        Ah I get it. it’s too much truble to actually do something compared to complaining from the sofa….

    • Stan

      That’s the nature of Israel, Ben. Parasites that live off American taxpayers and bite the hand that feeds them.

      • Stan

        The USS Liberty might not count to you and typical Israelis but, it certainly does to the victims and their families. What would America’s reaction be if any other state had committed that attack?

        • ronaldo

          Stan……get over it.

          • Stan

            ronaldo proving the point for me. Israel lives off American taxpayers and then bites the hand that feeds them.

            Thanks ronaldo.

        • tiger

          Yep, right on time. Still bitchin about 1967…

        • Brian

          Events like the USS Liberty have happened repeatedly throughout history. A very creepy event, but one of many that ended the same way.

      • tiger

        crawling from under rocks…. the hate lobby.

    • Amos Ashani

      The US didn’t pay to develop Iron Dome. The initial funding and development of the Iron Dome system was entirely Israeli, and allowed for deployment of the first two Iron Dome systems. Funding for an additional 8 systems was provided by the US, and additional funding recently approved includes a provision which will allow for sharing of the technology with the US. There are many other countries worldwide interested in acquiring this technology, which has proven to be unique and extremely effective.

      • Stan

        Amos, even this article says that it was “funded largely by the U.S.” The truth is out.

      • blight_


        In exchange for $680 million for Israel’s Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system, Washington wants “appropriate rights” to the Israeli-developed technology and U.S.-based coproduction of the system’s high-speed intercepting missiles.

        According to language included in the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee’s markup for the 2013 defense authorization bill, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta may provide up to $680 million to Israel for Iron Dome procurement over the next 29 months.

        The proposed funding, when combined with the $205 million authorized and appropriated under 2011 legislation, brings U.S. taxpayer investment in the operationally proven Israeli system to nearly $900 million. “Yet the United States has no rights to the technology involved,” the committee noted.


        Israel has deployed three Iron Dome batteries and a fourth is in final stages of acceptance testing with the Israel Air Force’s Air Defense Command. The first two batteries were funded by Israel’s shekel-based defense budget while the $205 million appropriated by Congress last year were used to fund the third and fourth batteries as well as two additional batteries now being produced by an Israeli industrial team led by state-owned Rafael.

        Israeli sources say the proposed $680 million in additional funding will cover another four complete Iron Dome batteries, which include an Elta multimission radar, Iron Dome launchers, Tamir interceptors and the system’s command-and-control unit.

        It’s not entirely clear when the US’ started dumping money into Iron Dome. It is clear that the US is helping to underwrite Iron Dome battery production, but unsure what dollars went into the R&D. American military aid frees up money for R&D into things like Iron Dome, but the argument is rather generic.

    • bethesdadog

      That’s stupid. Most of the cost of development was paid by Israel, not the US. The US does have access to the technology.

  • Randy

    We don’t spend enough money on Israel. Given sufficient support, they could really slow down terrorism in the middle east and probably world wide.

    • Ben

      … All they need is enough to defend themselves. Anything more is either wasteful or will instigate even more extremists. You can’t simply stamp out “terrorism” with a big stick. We’ve been trying and failing to do that for the past decade.

      • Kaleb

        We could if we could get the stupid politicians out to the position of running the war.

        • Ben

          That’s a fantasy.

          The only thing that MIGHT have worked would have been if we’d only sent in a lot of special operator teams to quietly but constantly be knocking out their leadership. That would have kept our intentions focused and clear to everyone: We’re just going after the hardballers, not trying to occupy your home and change the way you live.

    • rtsy

      The existence of Israel and US support for it is probably the biggest single reason for terrorism against us.

    • Clint

      We spend so much on is real because they test American technology in war for us and we adopt what is most effective

    • XB-70

      Thank you. Somebody that speaks sense for one. What you said is on the money.

    • Cataldo

      Yes, they can slow “terrorism” , maybe with a bunch of nukes.

  • Thunder350

    Benjamin Franklin said it best, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”

    The Israeli people poll after poll no longer agree with oppressing the Palestinian people and overwhelming support a two state solution. The oppression for temporary safety has failed, and will continue to fail outside a genocide worse than that of WW2. The Israeli people no longer support their corrupt Benjamin Netanyahu but his popular party continues to keep him in power. The people need to force this change in order to seriously engage with the united Palestinians who are giving peace a chance and are willing to act to stop the aggression by 3rd parties. Israel needs to return to the negotiation table. History has proven further aggression by either side has never led to any positive outcome.

    “Israel will never get true security and safety through oppressing another people. A true peace can ultimately be built only on justice. We condemn the violence of suicide bombers, and we condemn the corruption of young minds taught hatred; but we also condemn the violence of military incursions in the occupied lands, and the inhumanity that won’t let ambulances reach the injured.” -Desmond TuTu

  • Mm

    You can’t make peace with someone who wants you dead- the Palestinians want peace thru Israeli suicide

  • Kaged 2

    The Palestinians got everything they wanted back when Arifat was in control of the P.L.O. And walked away from it just to show his defience to a state of Israel.

  • TonyC.

    The article is correct, no missile defense system can hit every projectile coming into the target area. The rocket barrages are designed to overwhelm the Iron Dome system. This is the same tactic that any enemy of the US will use to overwhelm the missile defense systems. The only effective defense is to eliminate the missiles at the launch sites before they can be fired.

  • hank

    Reminds me of the Patriots during the GW1 “hitting” the Iraqi scuds. LOL!

    • ronaldo

      Hank……there is no technical or tactical similarity.

  • Lakotah

    What’s it matter what the cost is as long as it saves innocent lives. All the math in the world doesn’t add in the cost of an innocent child, brother, sister, mother or father. Hell you act like it’s your money their spending

  • Rob

    Either make peace or fully declare war & fight until 1 side is completely eliminated. Same with Iraq. Stop leaving enemies behind to just make mess of things. Stop giving enemies the option to retreat & reform. All this tech, spying, allied support and money, but just seems to have been wasted & abused. Israel is one of our closest supporters. If they are attacking, we should be too. end of

    • tiger

      Uh, Rob. Mass exterminatiton is not cool.

  • Rob

    Not sure where you live but I’ve been to the Southwestern states.. Majority of population is Mexican and mostly due to 200 years of border crossing freely. Only in recent decades have we even begun to control it & it’s too late. Only hope it to create jobs in Mexico so some go back & to find an end to the drug wars. That said, what you call just illegals are humans. We need to bond closer with Mexico not build a wall.

  • Kurt Montandon

    No surprise you get hard at the thought of incinerating desperate children.

  • Amos Ashani

    Time magazine in 2012 cited an unnamed senior Israeli official saying the cost of an interceptor missile was “pocket change” compared to the cost of a rocket hitting Israeli neighborhoods. “If these rockets actually hit a neighborhood, in terms of the human costs, the wounded, the destruction of infrastructure would be much greater. So $100,000 is not that much to pay for a house that’s full of kids,” the official said.


  • Amos Ashani

    At the 2014 Singapore Air Show, Rafael unveiled its Iron Beam laser air-defense system. Iron Beam is a directed energy weapon made to complement the Iron Dome system by using a high-energy laser to destroy rockets, mortars, and other airborne threats.

  • hibeam

    We should send Joe “Empty Dome” Biden over there to negotiate.

  • hibeam

    Every time an unguided missile is launched at Israel, launch 10 unguided rockets into Gaza. Ten for one. Every single time. At some point the local yocals will police the lunatics.

  • blight_

    Need more discussion on Iron Beam.

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  • charles houghton

    u. s. to give 225,000,000 to replace 700 defenses missiles used to save innocent lives.That is 35,000,000 at 50,000 per missile.I HOPE the remaining 190,000,000million will be spent on FOUR more Iron Dome missile batteries. Expand the Iron Dome far enough to explode I C B M s coming from Iran- over Iraq.If you love the world-protect America!

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