Why Iron Dome Is a Game Changer

By Akiva Hamilton
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This will not only continue but will actually accelerate in accordance with Moore's Law and Ray Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns which state that the performance of computer systems increases exponentially with time.

With each upgrade the interception rate will improve and the range of missiles it can intercept may also improve further. It is therefore that we can expect Iron Dome to reach a 95 percent or higher interception rate in the next year or two, and to continue to improve as the speed and processing power of the computers that make up its brain and eyes (radar) advance.

The practical upshot of this is that the number of rockets per Israeli fatality has risen from 50-75 (Lebanon and Gaza pre-Iron Dome) to 300 in 2011 (75% interception) and around 500 in 2012 (90% interception), despite Hamas using more lethal rockets.

The strategic implications are that the current rocket-based terror strategy of Hamas and Hezbollah has been rendered both ineffective and economically unsustainable. I estimate it is currently costing Hamas (and thus its patron Iran) around $5m. (500 rockets at $10,000 each) to murder a single Israeli. When Iron Dome reaches 95% interception rate these figures will double and at 97.5% they will double again.

Contrary to some suggestions, the terrorists cannot bankrupt Israel by firing millions of rockets because the real cost of their rockets exceeds the marginal cost of the Tamir interceptor.

Moreover, most rockets miss and Iron Dome ignores them. Indeed, this strategy will bankrupt Iran even more quickly than President Reagan's "Star Wars" missile defense strategy bankrupted the Soviet Union.

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This is devastating not only to the terror strategy of Hamas and Hezbollah, but also to the military doctrines of Israel's nation state enemies, such as Iran and Syria, which have heavily invested in missiles and rockets to compensate for their weak air power.

Iron Dome is already 90% effective against many of Syria's medium-range missiles, and Israel's Arrow 2 missile defense system is similarly effective against Iran's long-range missiles. The remaining components of Israel's comprehensive multi-layer missile defense umbrella, David's Sling and Arrow 3, will become operational in 2013/14 and will follow a similar technological upgrade trajectory as Iron Dome. As a result, the enemy's missile arsenals will continue to decline in effectiveness at exponential rates as interception rates of Israel's missile defense systems increase.

Iran, Syria and their terror proxies are fighting a losing battle with the exponential rate of technological progress in a field in which Israel leads the world.

Iron Dome is a game-changer that heralds the end of rockets and missiles which are being used by the less technologically advanced. In a sense, just like the organization I work for bankrupts terrorism one lawsuit at a time, the Iron Dome does so one interception at a time.

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The writer is an attorney at Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center, a civil rights organization and world leader in combating terrorism through lawsuits. Their website: www.israellawcenter.org

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