Obama Approves $225m Grant to Replenish Iron Dome Parts

U.S. Congress funding measure passes both houses in separate legislation after initially getting held up in wrangling over other spending provisions.

Amir Oren
Amir Oren
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An Iron Dome air defense system fires to intercept a rocket from Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, July 5, 2014.Credit: AP
Amir Oren
Amir Oren

U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday signed a bill allocating $225 million to fund critical parts for Israel’s Iron Dome rocket interception system. The Israeli army still has adequate supplies to deal with the current situation, according to Israeli Defense Forces data. 

The Congressional funding measure passed both houses of Congress by Friday, in separate legislation after initially getting held up in wrangling over other government spending provisions. According to IDF data, the Tamir missiles used to intercept incoming rockets have so far intercepted 556 of the 3,243 rockets fired at Israel, while another 2,560 rockets have fallen in open areas. Of the 112 rockets fired at the greater Tel Aviv area, or “Gush Dan” as it is known in Hebrew, 60 were intercepted and 52 hit the ground, not all in open areas.

"This isn't just about money. It is a signal from the American people and the American taxpayer that we are with the Israelis because if we, they do not have iron dome, they can't defend themselves," Republican Senator John McCain said Friday, when the bill was passed unanimously in Senate.

In a letter sent to foreign airlines and aviation safety officials, Civil Aviation Authority director Giora Rom provided information showing that Iron Dome had about a 90 percent success rate in intercepting incoming rockets in sensitive locations and population centers, including Ben-Gurion airport, using two interceptor missiles for each incoming rocket. Rom sent the letter in an effort to bring about the resumption of air service to Ben-Gurion International Airport by foreign carriers that had suspended it during the current hostilities.

To date, the number of Tamirs that have been launched in order to carry out 556 interceptions would be closer to 700, based on the Iron Dome data, the 90 percent success rate and the pairs of missiles fired to intercept those headed toward the Gush Dan area. This calculation doesn’t account for the entire $225 million Congressional allocation, however, because at a cost of about $50,000 per missile, the price for replenishing 700 Tamir missiles would be only about $35 million.

According to the assessments of intelligence sources Hamas still has about 3,000 rockets in its possession. "Stocks are adequate to deal with the challenges facing [the IDF] in various arenas and scenarios,” the IDF Spokesman said on Monday, adding that “plans have been made with respect to all aspects of stocks of ammunition."

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