Analysis

Iron Dome Not a Panacea for South Korean Missile Defense
President Barack Obama is shown an Israeli Iron Dome missile battery on March 20, 2013 at Ben Gurion International Airport on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
April 17, 2013
| Security
| Asia and the Pacific
Summary
Recent reports about advances in North Korea's ballistic missile program and North Korea's reported plan to soon conduct more missile tests have caused alarm in northeast Asia and have led to calls for South Korea to step up its missile defense shield, including by acquiring Israel’s well-regarded Iron Dome system.

Iron Dome would not be a game changer for South Korea’s missile defense shield, but LIGNET believes it could still play a role in defending against some of North Korea's less sophisticated Scuds and smaller rockets. South Korean missile defense is a major challenge due to hundreds of North Korean missiles and rockets that another Israeli missile defense system might be more capable of helping South Korea address. 
South Korea has developed its own missile interception system for short and medium-range targets. South Korea’s missile defense program, which is not yet fully operational, depends heavily on American Patriot air defense batteries and advanced radar and early warning assistance from U.S. satellites. The Iron Dome is very expensive but it is likely that Seoul will buy several Iron Dome batteries to fill gaps in its missile defense.
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