MAKICHUK: One night's defence of Israel cost $1.35 billion US

An Iron Dome defence missile is fired.
An Iron Dome defence missile is fired.IDF

While it is clear that Iran's attack on Israel accomplished little — an international coalition intercepted 99% in what the US Pentagon called "a great success."

One has to wonder who won the cost of this battle. A question was raised to me this morning, which was: Did the Iranians just use a lot of cheap munitions to make Israel use up (expensive) defence weapons, with a more sophisticated attack to come?

A very good question.

So, who won the Cost War? And is Iran still holding some cards to play?

Check out these numbers.

US F-15E Strike Fighters shot down 70+ drones.

The cost of the missiles, AMRAAMs, are about $1.8 million apiece. (All prices in US funds).

The average Shahed drone is worth about $20,000 — talk about David vs. Goliath.

Despite its low cost, the Delta-shaped Shahed136 has a light carbon fibre airframe and range of more than 1,500 miles.

It can carry 20 to 40kg of explosives, around double the 131 and enough to “blow in a pretty big hole in a non-hardened structure,” experts say.

Distinctive not just from their shape but their noisy engine, sounding somewhere between a lawn mower and a moped.

Flight paths are normally pre-programmed and can be quite complex, and Shaheds often use a sophisticated combination of US, Russian and Chinese navigation systems to make them harder to jam.

So, 70 Shahed drones shot down, that's $129 million in potential cost to the USAF. I say potential, because the "E" model also has an internally mounted 20mm gun that can carry up to 500 rounds.

But at night, the weapon of choice was likely the highly capable missile systems employed on the F-15E.

Its advanced APG-70 radar system allows aircrews to detect targets from long ranges, day or night.

Now we go to the Arrow 2 and 3 defence system — very capable systems.

One Arrow 2 missile costs between $2 million and $3.5 million, while one Iranian cruise missile costs $160,000.

That's at least $75 million in cost to Israel, but probably more. Let's peg it at $100 million.

The Iranian Shahed 136 drone.
The Iranian Shahed 136 drone.Army-Technology

Iron Dome interceptor Tamir missiles are estimated to cost around $50,000, while one David Sling missile is $1 million.

These are expensive toys, folks.

Also, ship-launched GM-84 Block II Harpoon cruise missiles cost approximately $3 million per copy — the most expensive of the bunch.

Then there is the cost of operating jet fighters and crews.

According to a 2018 report by the US Department of Defence, the estimated cost per flight hour for an F-15C Eagle is approximately $41,921.

This includes the costs of fuel, maintenance and other operational expenses.

All told, Iran spent a fraction, just a fraction, of what the allies spent. They will also learn from this experience — the first major missile/drone swarm attack in history.

According to Israeli media, the cost of countering Iran's overnight attack was more than $1.35 billion. That's a lot of coin to blow in one night.

Terribly costly by any account.

So, taking that into account, who is the real winner and does Iran have greater weapons to call upon in future conflicts?

Was Israel and its US allies rope-a-doped, Muhammad Ali style, into spending a virtual fortune?

Furthermore, in what some might say was a brilliant move, Iran went to the UN first, announced their intentions and their justifications.

Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, also said it had given neighbouring countries 72 hours notice. The attack was fully telegraphed.

As such, and in doing so, Iran clouded the arena, for exactly who is the aggressor in this game of war. Did the Israelis cross the red line for their attack on a consular building in Damascus?

An Iranian cruise missile.
An Iranian cruise missile.Handout/Iran

To some Western nations, that may seem like dirty pool.

Put it this way — is anyone safe from Israel and the Mossad? Are they accountable to anyone?

And is that what it takes when you are tackling Iran — the greatest enemy to the West in the Middle East, by far.

On top of that, the Biden/Blinken White House has not put the fear of God into anyone, let alone Iran, which is one reason why both Russia and China have become bolder of late.

Said one Canadian intel source to The Western Standard: "Neither (Biden/Blinken) are warriors, they are afraid to get aggressive, they believe they can come up with political solutions, with people like Iran — who have just threatened the US not to get involved."

"These are the types of enemy you need to stick a few big bombs into, to let them know that terrorists don't tell the big boys what to do."

Despite the April 13 attack, it's clear that Iran has no intention of launching a full-blown war. It prefers to work through its proxies and in its embassies around the world.

In the shadows — where it can deny everything. Israel too, could choose to retaliate covertly.

By contrast, Israel has one of the most advanced air forces in the world. According to the IISS military balance report, Israel has at least 14 squadrons of jets — including F-15s, F-16s and the latest F-35 stealth fighter.

Israel has said this week it will retaliate, at the time of its choosing.

That could include strategic or asymmetric attacks, or even more daring assassinations. The world awaits those actions, nervously.

With its problems in Gaza, it probably doesn't want or need another ground war.

Yet, when asked about the assassination of Israel's enemies, including those Iranians involved in the October 7 attacks, former Mossad boss Yossi Cohen said, “If the man constitutes a capability that endangers the citizens of Israel, he must stop existing.”

“We see evidence that Iran is trying to enhance its capacities abroad against Israelis and Jewish people. This is something Iran has to be held accountable for,” he said.

Israel sees things in black and white — they always have. Every Iranian involved in October 7 will be hunted down.

But there is also pressure on Israel to take advantage of the moment, to reframe the narrative, a bit of good will on the national stage following the disaster of Gaza.

If Bibi wants to score some points, now would be the time.

But the man who never got over his brother's death at Entebbe, seems intent on revenge.

Does Iran still have cards to play? It definitely doesn't have much of an air force, but it is now allied with Russia, so that will change.

Russia has promised to help Iran modernize its air defence systems and fighter jets, in return for supplying its drone tech in the war with Ukraine.

A deal soaked in blood.

It may also be close to building the bomb — the ultimate game changer in this entire scenario.

An announcement of this magnitude would change the world overnight.

Baseball great Yogi Berra once said, "It ain't over till it's over."

Well, ladies and gents, this is not over.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Western Standard