Is Israel’s Iron Dome Worthy of the Hype?

'Feel-Good' System's Success Doubted by Many

Every time a brief war breaks out, Israel loudly cheers the Iron Dome missile system for successfully shooting down extremely short-range rockets of extremely limited explosive capability at a high rate.

Yet this is the exact same system the Israeli military defunded in the first place as economically non-viable, and only got in the first place when the US agreed to pay for the entire thing. It is also getting a lot of press as a “feel-good” system that doesn’t really do much.

It’s not hard to see why. The Israeli military’s claimed success rates are in serious doubt, and when officials play them up as a key to a future war with Iran it completely defies explanation since the missile system is explicitly only effective on missiles with a range of a few dozen km, not even theoretically usable against the long-range missiles Iran would fire back if Israel finally decides to start that war.

Other people like to “feel good” though, so there is at least some interest by other nations in acquiring such a system. The limited number of nations that have conceivable use for that is small, however, and even they want some actual proof that the missiles really work like Israel claims. Since the rockets only rarely ever hit anything to begin with, claiming huge numbers of shoot-downs isn’t readily disproven, but that in and of itself might not be enough to make a sale.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of