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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Terrorists changing tactics to avoid Iron Dome

Iron Dome has worked well enough that the terrorists are changing tactics to avoid it.
On Saturday, the terror groups attempted to break through the intercept system's defenses by firing a particularly large volley of rockets at Be'er Sheva, where one of the batteries is deployed. The Defense Ministry, for its part, has accelerated its timetable in order to double the number of available batteries within six months.

The IAF's Air Defense Corps intercepted 15 of the rockets launched from the Gaza Strip since Thursday. Iron Dome is capable of determining which rockets are liable to hit populated areas, and intercepts those rockets only in order not to waste the expensive intercept missiles on incoming rockets that will land in uninhabited areas.

After the Palestinian launch teams realized that the intercept systems deployed in the past two weeks around Ashkelon and Be'er Sheva provided near-perfect protection from rockets, they began targeting Ashdod and Ofakim more frequently. And when they did aim at Be'er Sheva on Saturday night, they did not fire one or two rockets, as in the past, but rather a volley of seven rockets almost simultaneously. Iron Dome intercepted five of them successfully, but one penetrated the defense system, exploding in a residential area and killing Yossi Shushan.
But the biggest problem with Iron Dome is that there are not enough batteries.
Even before the recent escalation in the south, the Defense Ministry decided to accelerate the production timetable for additional Iron Dome batteries. As a result, the ministry and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which manufactures the system, hope to deliver a third battery to the IAF in September, with a fourth scheduled for delivery within the next six months. The air force has already trained additional air defense operators for these batteries.

Two more batteries are scheduled for delivery to the IAF by the end of 2012, bring the total number of operational Iron Dome systems to six.
That's all well and good, but if batteries deployed in Ashkelon and Beersheva cannot protect Ofakim and Ashdod, how many batteries do we need to deploy to protect the entire south? What happens when Hezbullah starts shooting in the north at the same time Hamas is shooting in the south? And what happens if they both start shooting before the end of 2012?

Iron Dome is better than I expected it to be as far as it goes, but it is no substitute for rooting out the terrorists entirely via conventional warfare. The failure to destroy the terrorist infrastructure will leave the state of Israel exposed to terror attacks and broke from trying to shoot down missiles. Recall the following from Evelyn Gordon:
[A]side from billions of shekels in development costs, each Iron Dome system costs $15 million (NIS 53 million) for the battery plus $40,000 (NIS 142,000) per missile. During the Second Lebanon War of 2006, Hezbollah fired some 4,000 missiles at Israel; intercepting them all with Iron Dome (had it been available) would thus have cost about NIS 568 million for the interception missiles alone.
It's time to consider a more proactive response.

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At 4:20 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Ok you stupid fools.....

Iron Dome?


It's time for Israel to use overwhelming force...

If Gaza shoots a rocket? Israel needs to shoot 40.


It's time to instill FEAR in Gaza.

If they shoot 100 rockets?


Drive the population of Gaza INTO the Sinai.



At 5:33 PM, Blogger Moriah said...

What is "Occupation" said...

That would make too much sense. It is what G-d wants of us. Instead we worry about international "reaction"

At 6:44 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

It isn't the on;y answer - but Iron Dome has been effective enough that its forced Hamas to reinstate the ceasefire. Terrorism is having a negative effect - not on Israel but on the Palestinians and that has been true for a century. Its not the tactics they need to change but their entire worldview.

I don't expect that to happen in our lifetime.

At 11:25 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

The Iron Dome developers are doing their T&E (test & evaluation) program on the fly. They'll optimize the tracking systems and algorithms, build more units, work the system into more economies... and then, the grand slam will occur when they switch out the kinetic guts for some lasers and knock down those bad rockets back in the boost phase over Gaza. That's going to be an amazing, amazing thing...


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