Iron Dome costs '$50,000 per rocket': Hamas' costly barrage on Israel

Iron Dome costs '$50,000 per rocket': Hamas' costly barrage on Israel
Is Hamas' tactic of firing barrage of rockets a show of defiance against a more technologically supreme enemy, or a clever way to strike Israel financially?
3 min read
10 October, 2023
Iron Dome's alleged success rate might also be one of its weaknesses [Getty]

Hamas claimed that it launched over 5,000 rockets from Gaza during Saturday’s attack on Israel, with the majority of the projectiles being intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system.

If so many of the rockets ended up as piles debris in the desert, it's reasonable to ask why then the Palestinian group launched or, as some might see it, 'wasted' so many of its rocket weaponry during the assault?

The answer might lie in the fact that for every single projectile launched by Hamas, the cost to Israel is around $50,000, according to Bloomberg. If Israel were to intercept 4,000 missiles, it would cost around $200 million.

Though an unprecedented amount of the rockets fired by Hamas and other groups in Gaza did hit targets, including civilian ones, the fact that Iron Dome costs so much for Israel to operate could be one reason as to why Hamas fires so many rockets knowing they won’t hit anything.

Every rocket comes at Israel’s expense.

Iron Dome works by intercepting short-range projectiles in midair, using advanced radar detection systems to calculate the position, speed and trajectory of the rocket or missile.

Israel often claims that Iron Dome has a total success rate as high as 90%. In fact, in May of this year, during rocket barrages by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Israel boasted publicly of a 95.6% success rate for those interceptions.  

But within that boast is concealed the financial drain of running the defence system.

This is especially true when Hamas can unleash rocket barrages of around 140 missiles per minute, with fairly advanced garage-built Qassam rockets costing between $300 and $800 for the Palestinian group to manufacture, according to Israel’s own experts.

The quantity of Hamas’ arsenal of rockets is unknown, but experts believe it could consist of over 10,000 projectiles of various levels of sophistication. This does not even account for rockets and missiles used by its allies in Gaza, such as the PIJ and groups like the far-left Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Hamas managed to overwhelm Iron Dome by firing so many rockets at once, but even for those that were intercepted, the group knows that Israel was still hit financially.


Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct a calculation on the cost for Israel if it intercepted 4,000 rockets. The correct figure is $200 million not $20 million.