Iron Dome mythbusters.

We keep hearing how it onlys costs terrorists about $1,000 to fire a kassam rocket into Israel, and it costs tens of thousands for each interceptor. This op-ed by Akiva Hamilton of Shurat HaDin, the people that are fighting terrorism with lawfare, shows how wrong that theory is. Akiva says that Israel is bankrupting Hamas, not the other way around.

The actual marginal cost of production of a Tamir interceptor is low and reflects the costs of the basic raw materials; metal, fuel, explosives and electronic components used in its manufacture, and the labor required to run the assembly line. If the IDF ends up ordering 10 times as many interceptors as originally estimated, then their “cost” will likely drop to around $5,000. At 100 times as many the “cost” will approach the marginal cost of less than $1000.

So how about those $1,000 Hamas rockets?

The supply line from Iran to Gaza is an extremely convoluted and expensive one which involves huge losses from IAF action bombing convoys and factories in Sudan, and interception by western navies. Large bribes have to be paid at every step of the way, particularly to the Beduin in Sinai and the Egyptian soldiers in Rafah who are supposed to be stopping the smuggling.

And the losses continue once the Grad gets to Gaza, with the IDF regularly destroying rocket caches. Thus, 1,000 Grads, which cost Iran $1 million to purchase, may end up as 300 Grads which cost a further $2 million in “delivery charges.” This turns a $1,000 Grad rocket in Iran into a $10,000 Grad rocket in Gaza.

Between that, and the accuracy getting better–costs go up exponentially for Hamas as accuracy improves only a couple of percentage points–it’s looking like Iron Dome was definitely the best way to go. But wait, there’s more–the new Magic Wand system has just been successfully tested, which minimizes the threat from Lebanon. It looks like if the Arab armies want to destroy Israel, they’re going to have to do it the old-fashioned way–send in their armies and get their asses kicked. Iran is courting Jordan to try to surround Israel with enemies on all sides. Because that worked so well in the past.

I’m starting to think the missile defense is a game-changer, as the op-ed says. Pretty soon, the only missile to be afraid of will be a nuclear-tipped one. And by the time Iran gets to that point, I’m thinking Israel will have an ABM system working and ready to go. And then–well, perhaps the Palestinians will realize they can never defeat Israel, and peace will be possible. One can only hope.

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2 Responses to Iron Dome mythbusters.

  1. You *could* factor in more costs for the Gaza rocket launchers:

    – martyrdom bounties to the crew when they get killed in an airstrike
    – costs of training new crews
    – repair to the neighborhood
    – lawyers to clog up court systems and harass Israelis around the world

    But UNRWA covers those costs, right? (Certainly not their “Arab Brothers” who pledge support but don’t bother sending any actual cash.)


  2. anon says:

    Akiva has it exactly correct. I have been arguing that Israel won a hugely significant victory. Hamas was so terrified of another Israeli incursion that the mere threat of same forced them cease fire. And their brave cousins to the north, in Lebanon, made their usual boasts. And fired not a single missile.

    The USA now knows that anti-missile systems can work in actual combat conditions. And with mass production the price does go down drastically. All-in-all a HUGE win for the good guys!

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