Iron Dome simulation
Photo: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems
MK Peretz. Favoring south
Photo: Gil Yohanan

MKs: 13 Iron Dome batteries needed

Member of Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee say first batteries of missile defense system must be stationed in Gaza vicinity; defense establishment seeks fewer batteries

The first two batteries of the Iron Dome system must be stationed in southern Israel as soon as possible, according to a team comprised of members of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, which was asked to review the equipping of the missile defense system and come up with recommendations.


In the next fives years, stated the team headed by Knesset Member Amir Peretz (Labor), the Israel Defense Forces must equip itself with 13 batteries, which cost about NIS 9 billion ($2.5 billion).


The team, which also includes MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) and MK Moshe Matalon (Yisrael Beiteinu), submitted its recommendations to Committee Chairman MK Shaul Mofaz and to MK Avi Dichter, chairman of the Subcommittee for Defense Policy, on Wednesday.


The lawmakers wrote in their report that should their recommendations be applied all across Israel, the country would be well protected from short-range rockets and perhaps even medium-range rockets.


The recommendation to station two batteries in front of the Gaza Strip immediately is redundant, however, as the Air Force is planning to do so in any event within a short period of time.


The team members, who thoroughly examined the different issues relating to the Iron Dome system, submitted their recommendations in two separate reports: One open to the public and the other confidential for field security reasons.


In the confidential report, the lawmakers elaborate on the differences of opinion they have with the defense establishment and IDF on nearly all critical issues relating to the equipping of the Iron Dome system.


The defense establishment plans to equip itself with a smaller number of batteries than demanded by the MKs, but to extend the equipping period. In addition, defense officials believe that the supply of intercepting missiles available to every battery will be smaller than the number recommended by the MKs.


This will lead to a significant reduction in the project's cost. The price of each intercepting missile currently stands at $70,000, but the cost is expected to be smaller as Rafael Advanced Defense Systems manufactures more missiles.


One of the obstacles expected to slow down the equipping stage is the limited production ability of Rafael, which will be required to supply thousands of intercepting missiles within a short period of time, if the recommendations of the lawmakers' team are accepted.


MK Peretz, who pushed for the development of Iron Dome and approved its execution during his term as defense minister, said the equipping stage must be accelerated for economic and operational considerations.


Peretz and the other team members believe that a tight activation of the Iron Dome batteries in case of an all-out war or attrition war will reduce the number of fighting days. According to estimates, each day of fighting costs about NIS 1 billion ($270 million).


In addition, stationing the system will prevent casualties and property damages in the civilian and military home front, will free the Air Force to attend to other mission and will provide the IDF and political echelon with greater freedom of decision and action at the start of the fighting.




פרסום ראשון: 02.09.11, 15:36
 new comment
This will delete your current comment