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US and Israeli experts say Iron Dome hit only 5% of Gaza rockets

February 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm

American and Israeli experts in missile defence systems have questioned the capabilities of the much-feted “Iron Dome” developed by Israel’s Armament Development Authority, after their research showed that the real results of using this system during the recent war on Gaza was inconsistent with what was claimed.

Military analyst and former Israeli Air Force pilot Dr. Reuven Pedatzur wrote in his weekly column in Haaretz that the results of the three experts’ research indicated that the Iron Dome succeeded in intercepting just “5 per cent” of the Grad rockets fired by Palestinians. The Israel Defence Forces claimed a success rate of 84 per cent at the end of its offensive against the Gaza Strip last November.

According to Dr. Pedatzur, American expert Professor Theodore A. Postol said, “If the definition of a successful interception by the Iron Dome means destroying the warhead of the attacking missile, then the rate of its success during the Pillar of Cloud operation is very low: probably 5%.”

He added that Dr. Mordechai Scheffer, who worked in the RAFAEL Armament Development Authority, and another anonymous expert known only as “D” who worked for the Raytheon Company which developed the Patriot anti-missile system, have both stressed that the success rate of Iron Dome was much less than the IDF’s claim of 84 per cent.

Pedatzur noted that the experts, working individually, analysed video evidence from the Israeli offensive and found that what appeared to viewers as successful interceptions were actually part of Iron Dome’s “self-destruct” operation. He added that the experts pointed out that in all cases the “fire cells” seen at night and cloud formations seen during daylight were circular and proportionate. If there was a successful interception, it has been claimed, ending with the destruction of a missile warhead, fire cells and smoke would have been visible, not one or the other.

The experts found in their research that “Israelis have submitted about 3,200 requests to the authorities to repair homes that have been damaged by Palestinian rockets”, which appears to be excessive given the IDF’s claim that only 58 rockets got past Iron Dome.

The research data, added Dr. Pedatzur, has been compared with that issued at the end of the first Gulf War when Iraq fired missiles at Israel, and the Second Lebanon War when Hezbollah rockets fell on northern Israel. He concluded by referring to Israel’s post-Gulf War claim that the expensive “Patriot anti-missile system” had intercepted “96 per cent” of Iraqi missiles when, in fact, the Patriot success rate was “zero”.