Momentum Builds for Iron Dome in Paris
PARIS — Crowds of military representatives from across the globe have consistently formed all week around Israeli defense firm Rafael’s Iron Dome here at the Paris Air Show. Most are there to check out the defense system that successfully shot down a stunning majority of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip toward Southern Israel since the Israeli Air Force started operating the Iron Dome in 2011.
Israeli air force officials have cited an 86 percent shoot down rate of the nearly 500 interceptors that Iron Dome has fired at incoming rockets thus far. President Obama even visited an Iron Dome site to see the short range air defense system first hand during his most recent trip to Israel.
Questions have been raised about the U.S. Army possibly purchasing Iron Dome systems for their own units. These light weight systems could be used to protect deployed headquarters.
Ehud Cohen, marketing manager for Rafael’s Air and Missile Defense Systems, said the company has received a wide range of interest from across the globe. The performance of the systems in its two years of service has made it one of the stars of the show here.
Of course, there are some critics who have since questioned the statistics promoting Iron Dome’s effective rate. A New York Times articles highlighted individual studies done by defense analysts who have examined videos of supposed Iron Done shoot downs. These critics have said that Iron Dome interceptors are not completely destroying the rockets. Instead people on the ground are only watching the warhead of the interceptor explode and not seeing whether the rocket was eliminated.
Israel Defense Force officials have since issued a statement saying these individual studies are baseless.
The debate over the effective rate has not deterred show attendees. Cohen said the Rafael booth has had a continual line of interest occurring throughout the week.