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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Israel missile defense chief: Our ‘Star Wars’ defense program was worth it

Following the Iranian attack on Israel on Sunday, the Director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization hailed Israel’s defense investments.


Updated: APRIL 14, 2024 15:53
Crews work on an Israeli Air Force F-15 Eagle in a hangar, said to be following an interception mission of an Iranian drone and missile attack on Israel, in this handout image released April 14, 2024.
(photo credit: Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS)

Director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) Moshe Patel on Monday said that nearly 40 years of investment in long range missile defense – Israel’s “Star Wars” program – had finally paid off to defend against Iran’s massive attack ↗ Saturday night.

The IMDO chief said, “all of the defense systems proved themselves well. All of their actions were coordinated after significant preparation and development of the systems, simulations and integration with actual battle units.”

“If someone thought the scenarios were imaginary” where Israel would need long range missile defense, they finally saw the relevance.

Patel told how the program to defend against long range missiles started in 1986 around when US President Ronald Reagan was also enthralled with the idea of truly effective missile defense (for the US against the Soviet Union.)

After Iraq attacked Israel with a number of long range Scud missiles in 1991, the program got a boost, said Patel.

A police officer inspects the remains of a rocket booster that, according to Israeli authorities critically injured a 7-year-old girl, after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, near Arad, Israel, April 14, 2024. (credit: REUTERS/CHRISTOPHE VAN DER PERRE )

However, until Hezbollah rained down ↗ missiles on Israel in the 2006 Second Lebanon war, missile defense was still sort of the “forgotten stepchild” of the defense establishment with most IDF chiefs viewing it as a waste of limited resources which would be better used to develop more offensive weapons.

Israel’s various forms of air defense 

Eventually, Iron Dome, which provides short range defense against high volumes of weaker Hamas and Hezbollah rockets, overtook the Arrow long range missile defense as the “favored child” among the political class.

Still, the Arrow missile system continued, and developed with versions II and III, and eventually Israel also developed David’s Sling ↗ for mid-tier defense, drones, and cruise missiles.

The Arrow and David’s Sling were the stars of Israel’s defense against over 300 aerial threats from Iran and its proxies overnight between Saturday and Sunday.

Kaylie Pferten
Kaylie Pferten
A pilot of submersible crafts in a former life, now married to my husband David and writing about investment advice.

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