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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Iron Dome won't be deployed in Sderot?

Residents of Israel's South are outraged that Israel's new Iron Dome missile defense system may not be deployed in Sderot.
Residents of the south are up in arms over Wednesday's report in Haaretz that the Iron Dome system for defense against short-range rockets will not be deployed in Sderot, which has suffered heavy rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip over the last nine years, unless another war breaks out.

Sderot Mayor David Buskila hastened to demand clarifications from Defense Minister Ehud Barak's office.

"No final decision has been made on the matter," he said he was told. "But the very existence of a debate over the question of whether or not to deploy a system that would protect Sderot and other communities in the 'Gaza envelope' is insulting. It's inconceivable that after years of anticipation, a relevant, sophisticated defense system has been built, but Sderot residents will still not enjoy the quiet for which they've yearned for so long."
Inconceivable unless Iron Dome is not capable of protecting Sderot from missiles fired from Gaza.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was surprised to learn last Sunday that the Iron Dome defense system, which was approved last year and was supposed to protect Israel's citizens against Qassam rockets, is not capable of alleviating the distress of Sderot inhabitants. "Recent tests found the system to be effective against rockets fired from more than four kilometers away, but not against those fired from closer range," Haaretz noted that same day in its lead story. Because Sderot is less than two kilometers from Beit Hanun, from which the rockets are being fired, Iron Dome will be helpless against them.

The upshot is that the prime minister, who just two months ago declared that "we will not fortify ourselves to death," was compelled to approve recommendations to fortify 8,000 homes in Sderot and the communities of the "Gaza envelope," to the tune of NIS 300 million. Such protection is necessary because these homes lie within 4.5 kilometers of the Gaza Strip.

But a mere day later, it turned out that the plan was too ambitious and that budget shortfalls meant that only 3,600 homes in Sderot and the Gaza envelope can be fortified within the next two years. The solemn declarations to fortify the homes, revoked only hours later, are just the latest chapter in a gloomy saga replete with deception, lies, concealment of the truth from policymakers, groundless promises to Sderot residents, the unexplained rejection of the arguments for examining additional defense systems other than Iron Dome, and bizarre decisions made in the Defense Ministry.


The fact that Iron Dome is not effective against short-range rockets and therefore cannot protect Sderot was long known to the system's developers and to the Defense Ministry officials who chose to focus on it. For some reason, they decided not to go public with their information. When the Defense Ministry officials, led by the defense minister, promised that the residents of Sderot would be protected after the installation of the Iron Dome system, they knew they would not be able to deliver on this promise.

One need not be privy to classified information in order to understand that Iron Dome is not the solution to the Qassam rockets. The data are public knowledge: The Qassam's speed in the air is 200 meters per second. The distance from the edge of Beit Hanun to the outskirts of Sderot is 1,800 meters. Therefore, a rocket launched from Beit Hanun takes about nine seconds to hit Sderot. The developers of Iron Dome at Rafael Advance Defense Systems know that the preparations to simply launch the intercept missiles at their target take up to about 15 seconds (during which time the system locates the target, determines the flight path and calculates the intercept route). Obviously, then, the Qassam will slam into Sderot quite a number of seconds before the missile meant to intercept it is even launched.
Read the whole thing. Unless Iron Dome was improved, it's useless against rockets shot from a distance of less than 4.5 kilometers away. In other words, it's useless for much of the Gaza envelope.


At 4:38 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Instead of eliminating Hamas for far less than it cost to build Iron Dome, Israeli politicians decided to misallocate national resources on a system that won't protect areas vulnerable to enemy fire. Stupid Jews Syndrome strikes again!


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