Powered by WebAds

Friday, March 27, 2009

Don't jump for joy over Israel's Iron Dome

The media here all reported on Thursday night that Israel had 'successfully' tested the Iron Dome rocket shield. It successfully blocked a rocket from landing (Hat Tip: NY Nana via Little Green Footballs).
The Iron Dome anti-rocket shield passed a critical test in the past 48 hours, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday evening, in a message that will be welcomed by residents of the rocket-battered western Negev.

During the test, a number of rockets were launched, "of the same type that were fired in recent years at Israel," and the Iron Dome system responded "accordingly," the Defense Ministry said, using terminology indicating a successful interception of the projectiles.

The Iron Dome system is slated to defend southern and northern Israel from Hamas and Hizbullah rockets, and be a key component in a multi-layered missile defense system that includes the Arrow anti-ballistic missile shield.
But Israel should not be developing Iron Dome. It should have bought a similar American system three years ago. It also should never have expelled all the Jews from, and vacated Gaza, and having made that mistake it should have gone back into Gaza far sooner than it did and stayed there. But the continued development of Iron Dome stands as a tribute to Israeli obstinacy and provincialism at tremendous expense in terms of lives, money and property damage.
In September 2006, I reported that Israel was considering a total of four short-range anti-missile systems, one of which was something called the Vulcan Phalanx, which was being used by the United States in Iraq.

In June 2007, I reported that the Israeli government had turned down a variant of the Vulcan Phalanx that had been offered by the United States government in favor of developing its own missile defense system, which will not be ready until 2011! In February 2008, I reported that the Israeli system in question, which is known as Iron Dome, is useless for defending against the shortest range Kassam rockets, including those that hit Sderot. In March 2008, I reported that Israel had reconfirmed that decision. And in July 2008, I reported on a test of the Iron Dome system that resulted in much less than 100% accuracy.

Now comes word that Israel's defense ministry is insisting on sticking with Iron Dome, refusing to even assess the Phalanx's performance.


"The Phalanx, which the U.S. has successfully used in Iraq to shoot down rockets and mortar shells, has also been rejected even though the Israel air force wrote in January 2006 that the Phalanx was 'the most prepared weapons defense systems among those inspected,'" respected Israeli analyst Reuven Pedatzur wrote in the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz on March 5.

Pedatzur said that the controversial Administration for the Development of Weapons in the Israeli Defense Ministry continues to refuse to assess the Phalanx's performance seriously, despite the total failure to bring Iron Dome online for at least another year and probably more.

"The ADW's response as to why the system has not yet been brought to Israel was: 'We're still gathering data on its performance,'" he wrote.

As another Haaretz columnist, Yossi Melman, wrote March 5, "The Vulcan Phalanx is a U.S.-made gun that the U.S. Army uses against steep-trajectory rockets and mortar shells in Iraq and Afghanistan. The system includes detection radar, tracking radar and two 20mm cannons."

This year's annual report by Israeli State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss contains a sobering description of bureaucratic foot-dragging and what even appears to have been deliberate obstructionism by the Israeli military establishment going back at least five years to prevent the Phalanx, which is built by Raytheon, from being bought by Israel as a possible rival to their own cherished Iron Dome project.

Back in 2004, Lindenstrauss documented, the Israeli air force and the research and development department of the Israeli Defense Ministry, also known as Mafat, carried out assessment tests on the Phalanx. The report concluded, "The Vulcan Phalanx system is likely to provide a solution for protecting strategic sites."

Yet years passed while Israel's southern settlements remained under constant Qassam rocket bombardment from Gaza, and no action was taken to follow up with the Phalanx.
Read the whole thing. There's a video there too that you should watch.


At 10:01 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

At the very least Israel can employ a stopgap system. As I asked before, is pride the only thing standing in the way of protecting Sderot? Its a very expensive gesture.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger noach said...

With respect, I'm not so sure about the underlying (call 'em real) motives for this public footdragging exercise. These are some possible alternative takes on the matzav:

1. It is politically useful to leave Sderot vulnerable, even to allow some more destructive attacks than we've seen so far. Just how useful, and to whom, remains a big question ...

2. The IDF are adequately - if not perfectly - aware of what the Raytheon system can do, and what the Barzel-Dome can't.

3. The public "surface" contains an element of disinformation - without buying into huge conspiracy theories.

4. The outcry of those who criticize I-Dome, such as IsraelMatzav, is useful.


At 7:10 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

Thanks for the hat tip, Carl.

Your explanation makes sense.

Re the expulsion of the Jews from Gaza? You already know how livid I still am about this.


Post a Comment

<< Home