Reuters Reporter Dan Williams Tries to Help Israel Sell Iron Dome, Ignores Problems

In a story published at 7:28 am this morning, Reuters more or less transcribed a sales brochure for Israel trying to get other countries to buy their own versions of the Iron Dome system. I have written on Iron Dome a couple of times, noting that it amounts to a billion dollar boondoggle and that Congress now wants US contractors to get their portion of the take from the huge funds the US is pouring into the program.

A recent summary of how the effectiveness of Iron Dome has been over-hyped can be found here. The New York Times also addressed problems with Iron Dome here.

Remarkably, it seems that Reuters reporter Dan Williams could find none of this information about problems with Iron Dome while he copied from Israel’s sales brochure for Iron Dome:

Normally, an advanced new weapon system with a battle-proven success rate of 90 percent would have global defense procurement agencies on the phone in minutes. But Israel’s Iron Dome rocket interceptor is yet to prove a hit with buyers abroad.

In terms of operational achievement, tested on the Gaza, Lebanese and Egyptian Sinai fronts, Iron Dome is unrivalled in the arms market. However its uniqueness – developed for a particular threat in a particular place – also limits its appeal to countries dealing with more conventional military adversaries.

But the praise for Iron Dome doesn’t stop there. Later in the piece, Williams says:

So far the system – its effectiveness against Palestinian rocket fire demonstrated beyond doubt since 2011 – has been bought by just one foreign country. Its identity is being kept secret by both sides.

So far, at the time of this writing, about two hours after Reuters posted the article, I have had no response from Williams on Twitter to my calling out his uncritical transcription of Iron Dome effectiveness and Reuters has posted no comments on the story even though I submitted a comment about an hour ago.

7 replies
  1. lefty665 says:

    Glad you’re pushing back. Keep after it. It looks like Iron Dome is about as effective as Patriot, about 5-10%. The hype seems similar too, at around 90%.
    Hitting fast incoming targets is hard, and the greater the deflection, the harder the task. High closing rates make for a very short window for proximity detonation and contact very hard to achieve.
    However, both systems have been effective propaganda vehicles, and effective at fattening up defense contractors. Both trace their lineage to Reagan’s Star Wars boondoggle that was, if anything, even less effective, but a model for potent funding vehicles.

    • Jim White says:

      I’ve been keeping an eye on the Parchin blast. I’ll look for new info in a few minutes. The timing is pretty suspect and note that Iran had just complained again about leaks of confidential info from IAEA a couple of days ago.
      As for ISIS planning to invade Iran? That is hilarious. That would be the best thing that could happen, because then Iran would wipe them out. That whole line of argument in the article you linked is nothing but madlib fearmongering. They did miss including Ebola, though, unless I skimmed it too fast.

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