With 100% ‘Kill Rate’, US Mulls Arming Ukraine With Iron Dome; Israeli Experts Say It Cannot Defend Kyiv From Russian Strikes

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv and segments of the US political sphere have been actively advocating for transferring the Iron Dome missile defense system to Ukraine. 

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However, an Israeli defense analyst has expressed skepticism about the feasibility of such a transfer, citing Ukraine’s massive territory as a key factor that would render the deployment of the Iron Dome missile defense system impractical. 

In an article published by The Jerusalem Post, military analyst Yonah Jeremy Bob argued that even some Ukrainian officials had acknowledged the limited effectiveness of the Iron Dome as a defense tool against Russian forces. 

Bob pointed out the significant challenges posed by Ukraine’s vast territory and Moscow’s technologically advanced rockets, which differ significantly from the comparatively low-tech Palestinian rockets typically intercepted by the Iron Dome. 

The article suggested that if Israel, a smaller country, requires ten or more Iron Dome systems for adequate defense, Ukraine, with its larger territory, would need a significantly higher number, “which simply do not exist.”

US Army Space and Missile Defense Commanding General Daniel Karbler recently informed the Senate that one of the two US Iron Dome batteries is ready for deployment to Ukraine. 

However, Bob added that acquiring just one or two Iron Domes from the United States would have a little tactical impact and may not hold much symbolic significance given the current circumstances.  

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Additionally, there are concerns that the Iron Dome system might not be effective in intercepting the advanced hypersonic missile possessed by Russia, underlining the potential limitations of the system against Russia’s sophisticated weaponry. 

Previously, Sam Sokol, in his report for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, echoed the same perspective, emphasizing that Ukraine’s large land mass and the advanced nature of Russia’s projectiles would make it improbable for the export of Israel’s highly acclaimed Iron Dome defense system to shield the country from bombardment effectively. 

In addition to the technological challenges, providing Ukraine with the Iron Dome system would also present logistical hurdles.

Implementing such a system is a complex and time-consuming process, meaning that even if Israel were willing to transfer the technology, the timeline to make it fully operational would not be short. 

This suggests that beyond the technical considerations, the practical aspects of deploying and integrating the Iron Dome system in Ukraine would require significant time and effort.

Israel Hesitant To Transfer Iron Dome To Ukraine

The Iron Dome, a highly advanced missile defense system, utilizes cutting-edge radar technology to detect incoming threats and swiftly calculate their trajectory, accurately intercepting and destroying them mid-air. 

The Iron Dome system has been crucial for over a decade in safeguarding Israeli communities facing constant threats. 

Initially deployed to counter short-range rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, the system has continuously proven its effectiveness. Over time, the Iron Dome underwent upgrades and enhancements to effectively counter a range of emerging threats.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously hinted at the possibility of Israel providing the Iron Dome system to Ukraine several months ago. However, the discussions surrounding this potential transfer seem to have subsided since then, with no further developments or official statements.

Israeli iron dome
File Image: Israeli Iron Dome

Israel has wavered to transfer the system to Ukraine, citing reasons such as the system not being specifically designed to counter long-range missiles like the ones targeting Ukraine. 

It is also believed that concerns about the potential impact on Israel-Russia relations could influence Israel’s decision.

The delicate geopolitical dynamics between Israel and Russia could be a significant consideration in their stance on transferring the Iron Dome system to Ukraine.

Top Israeli defense officials have already voiced concerns about the potential ramifications of providing Ukraine with the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Given that the Iron Dome was a collaborative effort between the United States and Israel, both countries would need to reach a consensus for the system transfer to Kyiv.

While Israel has expressed support for Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of Russia’s invasion, from a practical standpoint, Israeli authorities have not yet concluded that the advantages of providing the Iron Dome to Kyiv outweigh the potential risks and consequences of upsetting Russia.