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Defense Cronyism: Over Half Of Israeli Iron Dome To Be Made In US

May 28, 2014

Defense officials have rewarded American defense contractors with the lion’s share of work they’re funding for the Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system, Bloomberg reports.

The company contracted to find US-based component suppliers for Iron Dome  has had a failure of its own technology that will cost the Pentagon $1 billion to fix, dwarfing the size of the Iron Dome funding. The DoD will pay for the failure.

iron-dome-descriptionRaytheon Corp. makes warheads for the anti-missile missiles used in the Patriot Missile Defense system. That $39 billion project has not had a successful test on an incoming missile since 2008.

The Israelis have agreed to American demands to spend more than half of American funding for Iron Dome in the U.S., making cuts to the funding more politically difficult. Bloomberg says,

Funds going to U.S. contractors for components of the Israeli-built, Pentagon-funded system will jump to 30 percent this year and 55 percent next year from 3 percent previously, according to a U.S. Missile Defense Agency report to Congress obtained by Bloomberg News. That amounts to at least $97 million of $176 million requested by the Defense Department for the coming fiscal year.

Iron Dome is designed to intercept and destroy rockets capable of flying as far as 70 kilometers (44 miles). It gained international attention in 2012, when Israeli and U.S. officials said the system intercepted about 400 rockets fired at Israel, or about 85 percent of those targeted as heading toward populated areas during eight days of fighting between Israel and the militant Islamic Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip.

“Under this agreement, the United States focus shifts toward maximizing economic activity in the United States while ensuring that Israel’s security needs are met,” the missile defense agency said in its April 2 report. “This new agreement strikes a better balance for both parties and should serve as a model for the future.”

Massachusetts-based Raytheon Co. is under contract to find suitable U.S. component suppliers for Iron Dome’s Israeli maker, Haifa-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.