October 23, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Not Publishing Iron Dome Performance Data

October 23, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Not Publishing Iron Dome Performance Data

Latest Developments

Unlike in previous Gaza wars, Israel is not publishing the numbers of Palestinian rockets it shoots down during Operation Swords of Iron as it eyes a possible flare-up on the northern front with Hezbollah. While the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has occasionally provided updates about the thousands of rockets that Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terror groups have launched at Israel since October 7, its spokespeople have declined to say how many Iron Dome intercepted. Nor have they readily discussed the system’s success rate, which some analysts have previously estimated is as high as 95 percent. “I’m not going to tell the enemy the number of our intercepts,” Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Hecht, a spokesperson to foreign media, said in an October 12 briefing when asked about the matter.

Expert Analysis

“There is every reason to think that Israeli missile defense is performing well, as usual. But because this looks to be a long war, Israel is managing public and international expectations. Full participation by Hezbollah would be a game-changer, as its rocket and missile arsenal dwarfs that of the Gaza factions and includes large numbers of precision-guided munitions that could potentially knock out key Israeli infrastructure. In such an eventuality, the Israelis can be expected to dedicate the bulk of their Iron Dome and David’s Sling batteries to the defense of key military bases, power plants, airports, and seaports, which could leave other parts of the country exposed. In that scenario, Israelis would be asked to act especially diligently about taking cover in bomb shelters when the sirens sound. So, it would be wise to disabuse Israeli civilians of the idea that they can rely indefinitely solely on active air defenses.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Israel lacks sufficient air and missile defense capacity to deal effectively with a major war with Hezbollah involving tens of thousands of missiles and rockets fired at Israel. Tehran and its terror proxies know that. Supporters of Israel should know that too so that we can move heaven and earth to do something about it. That should include urgent efforts to strengthen the Tamir interceptor supplier base in the United States and the creation of full Tamir production capacity here, too.” — Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

Good But Not Enough

The IDF has said that around 10 percent of Gaza rockets have fallen short, meaning that most cross into Israel. The Iron Dome is designed to ignore rockets on a course to strike uninhabited areas, conserving interceptors for rockets that would strike populated areas. There has been damage to buildings in Israel but relatively few casualties from rockets, suggesting a high percentage of successful interceptions.

U.S. Rushes Weapons to Israel — With More to Come,” FDD Flash Brief

David’s Sling Air Defense System Intercepts Rocket for First Time,” FDD Flash Brief

Avoid Overconfidence When It Comes to Middle East Air and Missile Defense,” by Ryan Brobst and Bradley Bowman

How the Pentagon can help Israel now,” by Bradley Bowman and Ryan Brobst

How America can help Israeli missile defenses ASAP,” by Mark Montgomery


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