The Iron Dome system has proven its worth over the weekend, intercepting rockets fired at southern Israel by Gaza terror groups, but some have already voiced concerns that over time – and if it is forced into very frequent use due to Hamas fire, its costly operation may eventually lead to a financial attrition of the defense budget.
While the actual operational costs of Iron Dome remain classified, numbers released suggest each interception costs about $40,000. According to that math, the weekend's eight successful interception cost the IDF some $320,000, or NIS 1.1 million.
Such costs, according to a Sunday report in Yedioth Ahronoth, are relatively low for a missile defense system, but is still significantly high compared to the costs of Qassam and Grad rockets, which range from a few hundred dollars, to a few thousand dollars.
Security sources have voiced some concerns that should Hamas pursue massive rocker fire, Iron Dome's operational costs will skyrocket, severely straining the defense budget.
But not all is grim: Iron Dome's success is likely to prevent extensive infrastructure damage, on top of its lifesaving activity, and the defense establishment hopes to propel this success into sales opportunities.
The system's effectiveness is likely to lead to purchases by other countries facing the threat of rocket fire, which will, in turn, balance operational costs and may even cheapen them.
According to several foreign media reports, the defense establishment already has its first Iron Dome export contact, with Singapore.
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