Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Why the IDF won't deploy Iron Dome in the Gaza envelope

Since I mentioned the Supreme Court ruling on Iron Dome in the previous post (below), I want to talk a bit about why the IDF does not want to deploy Iron Dome in the Gaza envelope.

Here's a bit more about the ruling first.
In its High Court petition, the Eshkol Regional Council argued that the government should be ordered to deploy the Iron Dome to protect communities in the so-called “Gaza envelope,” specifically those located between 4.5 and seven kilometers from the Strip, from terrorist rocket fire.

Homes in communities located within 4.5 kilometers of Gaza have been equipped with government-funded rocket-roof protection.

However, structures located between 4.5 and seven kilometers from the Gaza security fence lack rocket protection.

Iron Dome, a mobile air defense system, was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to intercept rockets and artillery shells with a range from 4.5 to 70 kilometers. It was deployed this week outside Ashkelon in response to rocket fire from Gaza.

Communities in the Eshkol Regional Council say the system should protect them too.
You will note that the government has now admitted what I said all along: Iron Dome cannot protect places like Sderot, which are less than 4.5 kilometers from Gaza and where there is only 15 seconds from when a rocket is fired. Although Iron Dome was deployed around Sderot two months ago, the government has clearly realized that it's useless (no human being could react quickly enough to get it into action) and therefore it has paid for the roofs of houses that are close to Gaza to be protected, and pulled back Iron Dome. I would not be too crazy about that if I lived there.

But you may recall that eight months ago, the IDF announced that it would only deploy Iron Dome to protect the IDF and not civilians. At the time, I wrote:
Remember how I argued that no one is telling you that Iron Dome is not capable of protecting Sderot or other communities that are too close to the border line, because there's not enough time to shoot down missiles there. And we were warned this would happen. Well, now it's happened.

Iron Dome is being deployed, but not to protect communities that are near Lebanon or Gaza like you thought. No, Iron Dome is being deployed to protect the operational capabilities of IDF bases. Tuesday night, IDF Northern command chief Gadi Eizenkot announced that the communities on the Lebanese border would 'have it a bit rough' for the first few days of any war. And the residents of the border communities - north and south - are furious.


My dear Mr. Shuster: You've been told a lie. Iron Dome cannot protect your area - its reaction time is too slow. So the IDF will use it to protect IDF bases instead. After all, we spent so much taxpayer money developing it.

In fact, there may not be any system on the market that can protect an area like yours. You see, at some point, territory does matter, even though we live in an age of missiles and air forces. That's why we cannot give up territory that will put hostile entities on our borders. That's why the unilateral withdrawals from Gaza and southern Lebanon were such horrible mistakes. Now, there is - God forbid - a price to be paid.
That's the real reason the IDF won't deploy Iron Dome in the 4.5-7 kilometer range. They know it won't work. And they have known it at least since 2008.
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.
At this point, there are two factors at work. First, the IDF does not want to minimize whatever deterrent effect Iron Dome has on the Gaza terror organizations. And second, the Supreme Court wants to protect the Leftist Olmert-Barak-Livni government that made the bad decisions, because if more Israelis were aware of what you now know, they would be furious, and Livni would have no chance in a future election (not to mention that they might insist on retaking Gaza and Southern Lebanon).

So it's all a lie. Iron Dome looks great around Ashkelon and further out but is likely useless within 15 kilometers of Gaza. And the government isn't protecting anyone more than 4.5 kilometers from Gaza because they simply cannot afford it.

What could go wrong?

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home