The costs of Israel’s defense systems, from Iron Dome to David’s Sling

The exorbitant spending on these defense systems is straining Israel's budget, resulting in a deficit

israel iron dome
(Photo: Twitter/X)
TEL AVIV —  On December 4, the Israeli Occupation Forces reported that over 11,000 rockets had been launched from the Gaza Strip towards the occupied Palestinian territories since October 7.اضافة اعلان

Missiles have become pivotal for Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, as well as other resistance factions fighting against the occupation.

To counter these strikes, Israel employs three integrated air defense systems: the Iron Dome, Arrow System, and David’s Sling, each designed for different ranges, Jo24, Al Jazeera reported.

What is the ‘Iron Dome?’
The Iron Dome, known as "Kippat Barzel" in Hebrew, is a network of batteries using radars to detect short-range missiles and intercept them. Each battery consists of 3 or 4 launchers with 20 Tamir missiles, controlled by a radar that guides the missile’s path, according to Raytheon, the US defense giant collaborating with Israel’s defense company Rafael in producing the system.

While the exact number of Iron Dome batteries currently deployed is undisclosed by the Israeli military, as of 2021, Israel had 10 batteries stationed throughout the country. Each battery can defend an area covering 60 square miles (155 square kilometers), according to Raytheon.

Iron Dome boasts around 90 percent effectiveness, according to occupation forces, but saturation with numerous rocket strikes can compromise its capability, as observed during the conflict.

How much does it cost to operate the Iron Dome?
While the exact cost has not been disclosed, experts estimate that it was a substantial investment costing the occupation about $100 million, and each interceptor is priced at approximately $50,000.

The US, a significant contributor, allocated nearly $10 billion for Israeli missile defense systems, including $3 billion for Iron Dome. President Joe Biden seeks additional military aid of $14.3 billion, emphasizing support for Israel's right of ‘self-defense.’

Since October 7, occupation forces have claimed that Iron Dome has intercepted approximately 9,000 missiles and drones targeted Israel, out of the 11,000 launched.

Excluding the 2,000 missiles falling in open areas, the interception cost exceeds $450 million.

David’s Sling System
Operational since 2017, David’s Sling has been reported to intercept medium to long-range ballistic threats with two types of interceptors: ‘David’s Sling 2’ and ‘David’s Sling 3.’ The range it intercepts is estimated to be 40 to 300 kilometers.

Cost of David’s SlingAccordingly, the cost per missile is $1 million, and the first interception was in May, according to reports.

Arrow or Hetz is a defense system engaging ballistic missiles, consisting of Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 interceptors. Arrow 3 was employed in November against a long-range missile from Yemen, marking its first practical use.

The exorbitant costs of these defense systems strain Israel's budget.

Amid a deficit of $6.14 billion in October and $8 billion borrowed, analysts anticipate a budget deficit of 4.5 percent of GDP in 2023 and 2024. Government debt may reach 63 percent of GDP by 2024, up from 57.4 percent pre-war.

To meet war expenses, Israel approved an unprecedented supplementary budget of $8 billion. The Governor of the Bank of Israel anticipates war costs to reach 10 percent of GDP, equivalent to $52 billion.

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