Following the Iron Dome missile defense system's success in last month’s conflict with Hamas, several nations have expressed interest in purchasing the Israeli-created and American-funded system, The New York Times reported Thursday.
While experts note that Iron Dome has limitations — it was designed to intercept unsophisticated rockets with a range of less than 50 miles — countries such as South Korea and Singapore have reportedly been in discussions to purchase the system.
In South Korea, officials believe Iron Dome could defend its populated areas near the border with North Korea, according to The New York Times.
Anti-missile defense advocates in the U.S. are also urging the military to consider Iron Dome for the defense of ground units such as those deployed in Afghanistan, the report said.
“I think the successes of Iron Dome create a pretty big opening,” Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance Chairman Riki Ellison was quoted as saying.
Israel also acknowledges that Iron Dome is not enough to provide full defense against longer-range rockets, and the defense industry is currently developing David’s Sling, a system designed to protect against medium- and long-range ballistic missiles, such as those fired by Hezbollah in the past.
However, Iron Dome itself has not disappointed missile defense advocates, boasting an impressive interception rate of 85 percent in the recent conflict with Hamas, according to Israeli officials.
Speaking at the opening gala dinner at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy on Friday, even U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the missile defense system.
"The Iron Dome system — invented by Israel, underwritten by America — knocked rockets out of the sky like never before," she said.
Eric S. Edelman, a former undersecretary of defense policy, told The New York Times on Thursday that missile defense systems "will be especially relevant as we move into an era in which there will be more countries with small inventories of rockets and missiles — and more countries that will want to defend against them in a reasonable way.”