The United States has spent over $200 million on a highly effective missile defense system and plans to spend nearly $700 million more on it — yet U.S. troops in the field, including the highest-ranking military officer in the land, are still largely at the mercy of insurgents’ rockets. Why?
The answer is that U.S. taxpayers have been shelling out big bucks for the defense of a foreign country; and that country, in turn, has been unwilling to disclose to Washington the details of the missile defense system it is funding. All the while, a company owned by that same country’s government is raking in profits manufacturing and selling the system.
The country in question is Israel, and the missile defense system is called Iron Dome.
According to Wired's Spencer Ackerman:
The broad outlines of the Iron Dome system are widely understood: It’s a mobile set of interceptor batteries capable of shooting down rockets that adversaries launch from a distance of between five and 40 kilometers — difficult targets to hit, since they fly low, in a straight line, and quickly.... Using radar and a bit of math, the Iron Dome software figures out if a rocket is likely to land near a populated area. If so, Iron Dome fires its interceptor; if not, it finds a rocket that might.
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Photo: Photos: “Iron Dome” launcher near Sderot, Israel (left); “Iron Dome” radar installation