US Hawks Want Iron Dome For Ukraine, But It Would Be Ineffective

 Israel has long rejected the idea of sending its Iron Dome missile defense systems to Ukraine, despite the pleadings of Zelensky and his officials. After all, the Iron Dome has been busy of late given recent missile barrages out of Gaza amid the flare-up in fighting. 

But the Pentagon has signaled it could be prepared to ship its own Israeli-made Iron Dome systems, after earlier sending Patriot missile systems, the latter which may or may not be effective given Russia is now seeking to overwhelm Ukraine's defenses.

picture alliance via Getty Images

On Thursday a US general informed a Senate hearing that one of two Iron Dome batteries owned by the United States is ready for deployment to Ukraine

Senator Angus King pressed Army Space and Missile Defense Command chief General Daniel Karbler on why Ukraine has not yet received the Iron Dome

“We sent something like $3 billion to Israel to develop it… Wouldn’t this be a very important resource for the Ukrainians since their principal problem right now is missile defense?” the lawmaker asked.

Gen. Karbler said that among two Iron Dome batteries in US inventories, one is ready to go if needed:

“One completed new equipment training, new equipment fielding. It is prepared for deployment. The other one is wrapping up its new equipment training right now. So the army does have one available for deployment if we get a request,” he said.

Sen. King's argument is that given the US had a role in developing the system for the Israelis, Washington should have a say in whether Ukraine gets it.

But the battlefield reality of the Ukraine situation means there are some significant complexities when it comes to deploying the Iron Dome. The system is effective for Israel given it is for Israel a 'total coverage' system over specific cities and towns within limited space. But Ukraine's own wartime situation is very different.

Ukraine is a vast territory being attacked by Russian aerial bombardments from multiple sides, and even from the Black Sea. The Jerusalem Post also noted analysis this week-- 

“If Israel needs 10 or more Iron Domes to properly defend itself, Ukraine would need dozens or more, which simply do not exist.”

The Israeli publication also emphasized in the analysis: “One or two Iron Domes from the US would make no difference tactically, and at this point, probably would not even make much of a symbolic difference. And even then, the Iron Dome might fail to shoot down Putin’s more sophisticated missiles.”

The Ukrainians have meanwhile been claiming (dubiously) to have shot down Russia's hypersonic missiles with the US-supplied Patriots. Russia has called this claim "laughable". 

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