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Old 02-18-2008, 05:13 PM
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Arrow Olmert: Iron Dome anti-Kassam system at advanced stage

Olmert: Iron Dome anti-Kassam system at advanced stage

A significant amount of money is being invested for the completion of the Iron Dome anti-Kassam system, currently under development by Israel's Rafael (Armaments Development Authority), Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday.


"The plan is that these means will give us the capability of stopping short-range rocket attacks including Kassams. This is applicable to both the northern and the southern fronts," said the prime minister during a Kadima faction meeting.

Olmert emphasized that the system was at an advanced stage of development with an investment of nearly one billion NIS.

Regarding the Gaza blockade, Olmert said Israel was continuing to impose sanctions in a controlled manner in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster. He stressed that Gazans would not live normal lives as long as Israel is under fire.

"We view Hamas as being responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip, irrespective of whether its operatives are involved in every single incident," he added.
Olmert also praised the 2005 disengagement from Gaza. "Despite the [continuing] Kassam fire, it was a very good move since there are no longer 30,000 soldiers protecting 1,200 citizens," he said.


Concerning the peace process, Olmert expressed hope that an agreement on basic principles would be reached between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams this year.

Nevertheless, Olmert again stressed that Jerusalem would be the last issue raised in negotiations and that this had been agreed upon with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. "I will not hesitate to carry out painful compromises in order to reach true peace," he said, adding that a peace agreement cannot be signed before terror in Gaza ceases entirely.
Olmert mentioned Sunday's decision by a ministerial committee he led to approve a budget of NIS 350 million to fortify 3,600 Gaza belt homes against Kassam rockets. He noted that five million shekels had already been transferred for this purpose.
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Old 02-18-2008, 05:20 PM
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Lightbulb Security cabinet okays funding for 'Iron Dome' rocket defense system

The security cabinet approved Sunday funding for the development of the "Iron Dome" rocket defense system, which is designed to intercept short- and medium-range rockets such as Qassams and Katyushas.

Developing the system is expected to cost NIS 811 million over the next five years. According to the defense establishment estimate, the first operational version of the system will be deployed in Sderot in two and a half years.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the cabinet that he is convinced that Israel should continue to fortify communities within rocket range, until the anti-rocket system is operational. Five Qassam rockets struck the western Negev on Sunday. One rocket hit a Carlsberg factory in the southern Ashkelon industrial zone, and caused light damage. Islamic Jihad announced that the range of the Qassam that hit the plant had been upgraded. The other four did not cause any damage.

Iron Dome, which is being developed by Rafael - the national authority for the development of weapons and military technology - is designed to locate the Qassam rocket within seconds of its launch using a combination of radar and the 'Color Red' rocket alert system.

The company said its teams are working "day and night" to make it operational by the first half of 2010.

According to project director Oron Uriel, a single system will be able to protect the entire city of Sderot from Qassam rockets.

Estimated at between $30,000-$40,000 per unit, the Tamir missile utilized by the system will intercept targets in midair and will be guided by two separate radar systems, one of which already exists and provides Sderot residents with early warnings of incoming rockets.

"The system's development plans has been fast-tracked without precedent. It is revolutionary on a global scale," Uriel said.

Initial tests using the system will be conducted in four months and its first simulated interception of a dummy target is slated to take place in early 2009. Rafael staff expects the system to be 95-percent accurate against Qassam rockets as well as Fajr missiles used by Hezbollah.

"So far, we've successfully intercepted drones, but not rockets and we're working on it," Uriel explained. "The rocket's trajectory is not hard to track, but is problematic because it may explode in midair."



Immediately after locating the incoming rocket, the ground-based system launches a faster missile designed to intercept the rocket at relatively high altitude, in order to minimize potential harm to civilians should the incoming rocket be armed with an unconventional warhead.

A special Defense Minsitry committee, which examined 14 proposed rocket defense systems, selected Iron Dome several months ago. It was subsequently approved both by Barak and his predecessor, Amir Peretz.

Each interceptor missile is expected to cost between $30,000 and $40,000. According to Rafael, the system will be able to approximate whether the rocket will strike, and will not intercept it if it is expected to hit an open area.

Barak told Haaretz in August that he believes Israel can only agree to a withdrawal of troops from the West Bank once it has a functioning rocket defense system in place.

Rafael is also developing a second missile defense system called "David's Sling," expected to be operational by 2011. When completed, the two systems will help lead Israel's line of defense against attacks by missile and rockets.

IDF to launch awareness campaign on missile defense
The Israel Defense Forces' Home Front Command will launch in coming days an awareness campaign for civilians on preparedness for the event of a missile attack on Israel.

The Home Front Command's central effort in the campaign, which is running the banner "Being prepared means being protected," will be mailing guidance booklets to every household in Israel. These will give detailed instructions on how people should defend themselves in case of a missile attack.

Emphasizing that the decision to launch the campaign "does not reflect any change in the security assessment or on any expected escalation," the IDF Spokesman's Office said in a statement released Sunday the project was decided upon long ago as part of the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

The campaign was supposed to take place during the summer months, but was then postponed following the Israel Air Force strike on Syria so as not to send a message to Syria that Israel was readying for war.

Information will be given in the guidance booklet regarding: Choosing a protected internal room or space; choosing a sealed room and preparing it; preparing a family emergency plan and equipment for the protected room and dealing with children, adults and people with special needs during an emergency.

People will be advised to equip themselves with plastic sheets, batteries, canned food and mineral water for use in the event of an attack.

The campaign will run in the media and also be accompanied by a study program in elementary schools.

In July, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss released a scathing 582-page report on failures his office had found in the conduct of the top political and military echelons regarding the safeguarding of the civilian population in the home front during last summer's Second Lebanon War.

Since the war, the Home Front Command has reported a series of steps it has taken to improve services to civilians at times of emergency.
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Old 02-18-2008, 05:35 PM
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Default ''Israeli Missile Defense and its Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process''

''Israeli Missile Defense and its Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process''


s the Annapolis meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process approaches, there is deep skepticism regarding its chances for success. On the Israeli side, there is a reluctance to deal substantively with issues of conflict, due to the inability of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) to effectively implement any agreement and satisfy Israel's need for security. At the same time, rocket attacks from Gaza and the possible Israeli response threaten to further hinder negotiations. It is in this context that Israelis are coming to see a rocket defense system as increasingly important.

There is increasing pressure in Israel for defense against short-range missiles as a result of the 2006 Lebanon war and the persistent rocket attacks launched from the Gaza Strip since Israeli disengagement in August 2005. On October 16, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates agreed to cooperate on a multi-layered missile defense system.

They plan to set up a joint committee to investigate how Washington could help Israel develop a system, which would defend against not only long-range missiles such as those possessed by Iran and Syria, but also against short-range rockets of the types used by militants in Gaza and by Hezbollah in its 2006 conflict with Israel.

While U.S. officials are reported to be skeptical about Israel's ability to develop a system that could defeat short-range missiles, Israeli politicians, including Barak, see rocket defense as central to progress between Israel and the Palestinians, viewing an effective rocket shield as a prerequisite for any withdrawal from the West Bank.

Katyushas, Qassams and Their Effects

The two main rocket threats that Israel faces are the Katyusha and the Qassam. The Katyusha rocket makes up 90 percent of Hezbollah's rocket arsenal and has a range of approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles). Despite its limited accuracy, it is still able to have a significant impact. During July-August 2006, Hezbollah fired approximately 4,000 Katyusha rockets into Israel, killing 51 Israelis and seriously wounding another 250. Rockets destroyed or severely damaged 2,000 homes, while between 100,000-250,000 civilians fled, at least temporarily, from the north to other parts of Israel.

Qassam rockets, like the Katyusha, possess only limited accuracy. While they are less destructive than Katyushas and have a general range of only three to ten kilometers (1.8-6.2 miles), they are cheap and easy to make, making them the weapon of choice for militants launching attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip.

Qassams have had their most significant impact on the town of Sderot in the western Negev. While the Qassams have killed a relatively small number of people in Sderot (12 since 2004), the persistence of the attacks has significant social, political and psychological effects and renders normal life in the town difficult. One third of Sderot's children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a survey carried out last year, while around half of the population of Sderot has left the town since the rocket attacks intensified.

The political effects of both Katyushas and Qassams are compounded by the apparent inability of the Israeli military to counter them effectively. In the conflict with Hezbollah, the Israeli Air Force proved unable to stop Katyusha attacks with air strikes. In Gaza, Israel has few effective options. Cutting off electricity and supplies to the Gaza Strip is unlikely to halt rocket attacks and could draw international criticism.

The civilian casualties that are likely to result from a large scale incursion or reoccupation of Gaza would also bring international criticism of Israel. This, combined with the possibility of relatively heavy Israeli casualties, makes Israel reluctant to reoccupy the Gaza Strip. While Israel may, in the short-term, be forced to overcome this reluctance and reoccupy Gaza, it may see rocket defense as a mid- to long-term solution to the problem of rocket attacks.

The "Iron Dome"

Following the 2006 Lebanon war, then Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz decided to attempt production of a rocket interception system. In February 2007, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert approved Peretz's plans for the Rafael Armament Development Authority to develop the "Iron Dome" short-range missile defense system to defend against Qassams. While Peretz has since been replaced as defense minister, his successor, Ehud Barak, has continued to support the project, describing short-range missile defense as "a national priority."

While Barak has stated that Iron Dome could be ready by 2010, there are doubts about the likely cost and effectiveness of the system. Significant technological obstacles will have to be overcome if the system is to be effective. It will have to be able to identify the launch of a rocket, analyze the data and feed it to the intercepting missile for launch, all within 20 seconds, the flight time of a Qassam. While it may be possible to surmount the technological obstacles to achieving this, it may not be possible to do so at a reasonable cost.

The development of Iron Dome is expected to cost US$300 million. In August, reports suggested that the project was threatened by budget cuts and the absence of a regular funding plan. While the Defense Ministry gave $40 million to Rafael for initial development, this money is expected to run out by the end of the year. Rafael will require a further $80 million to continue work on the project. On his trip to Washington, Barak stated nevertheless that "money should not be a problem" in developing the system.

The costs of operating the system, however, may serve to undermine its feasibility. Each interceptor missile will cost between $30,000 and $50,000. The rockets that they will intercept, however, cost only a few dollars to make. Some analysts fear that reliance on Iron Dome may lead to a costly arms race, in which Palestinian militants and Hezbollah would have the advantage.

Proponents of the Iron Dome system, however, argue that comparing the price of interceptor missiles to the rockets they are designed to intercept is a wrong calculation. Rather, the cost of operating Iron Dome should be compared to the impact of the rockets and the costs of pursuing other options to counter attacks. The cumulative impact of rocket attacks on the economy and population of targeted towns may well make the costs of operating the system worthwhile. The costs of operating the system may also fare well in comparison with the likely costs, both financial and political, of pursuing large scale incursions or reoccupying Gaza.

The continuing attacks on Sderot have made it a political imperative for the Israeli government to take action to counter the rocket threat. Given the unattractiveness of other military options and the difficulties facing any political solution, the Israeli government may see an anti-rocket system as the simplest mid- to long-term solution to the threat of rocket attacks. While technological obstacles render the success of the Iron Dome project doubtful, an effective anti-rocket system has the potential to impact the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Rocket Defense and the West Bank

An Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank will be a vital part of any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. While there are political and ideological reasons that make Israel reluctant to withdraw, there are also other important factors, particularly demographic factors, which make a withdrawal from the West Bank desirable.

Surveys of public opinion suggest that Israelis are willing to compromise and make territorial concessions in return for peace, but remain hawkish in regard to security issues. Security concerns are thus the most important factor preventing an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.

Rocket attacks from the West Bank would be a more serious security threat than the attacks launched from Gaza, since a much greater proportion of Israel's population and industrial capacity could come within their range. Israel fears that were it to negotiate a West Bank withdrawal with the P.A., the P.A. would be unable to prevent rocket attacks from being launched from the West Bank. Given the inability of Mahmoud Abbas and the P.A. to exert effective control over Gaza and satisfy Israeli security concerns, Israel will feel the need to guarantee its own security before it takes any steps toward withdrawal.

An effective rocket defense system will likely be necessary to provide Israelis with the sense of security allowing for a withdrawal from the West Bank. When Barak stated in August that an anti-rocket system was a precondition for withdrawal, therefore, he was not only expressing his own preference, but also describing a political reality.

Nevertheless, rocket defense will not be a panacea for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and it also poses significant risks for the peace process. With observers expressing concern that an unsuccessful Annapolis meeting could lead to a dramatic deterioration of the situation, it is doubtful whether the Israeli-Palestinian peace process can survive for as long as it takes for Israel to develop anti-rocket defenses. A West Bank withdrawal that is perceived to be dependent on an Israeli anti-rocket system risks being seen as a unilateral move, potentially undermining Abbas and Palestinian moderates to the benefit of militant groups such as Hamas.

While an anti-rocket system will serve to limit the ability of these groups to inflict damage on Israel, Hamas and other groups are not likely to stand still while Israel develops effective rocket defenses and will likely seek other means to threaten Israel's security. An anti-rocket system will have to form just one part of Israel's broader defenses against irregular warfare if it is to provide Israel with the security needed to allow it to make the territorial compromises that are probably necessary for peace.

Report Drafted By:
Nick Keehan



"While an anti-rocket system will serve to limit the ability of these groups to inflict damage on Israel, Hamas and other groups are not likely to stand still while Israel develops effective rocket defenses and will likely seek other means to threaten Israel's security."
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Old 02-18-2008, 05:46 PM
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Default Israel Speeds Iron Dome Short-Range Defense System

Israel Speeds Iron Dome Short-Range Defense System

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: There are two fundamentally different visions of
the purpose of a rocket defense umbrella:


Concept #1: The enemy can be essentially allowed to fire rockets 24/7 at
Israeli targets because they are intercepted.

Concept #2: The IDF can carry out operations against the enemy with the
enemy's ability to retaliate against Israel's civilian population
dramatically limited.
In the first case, life is still pretty miserable for Israelis with rockets
blowing up all the time and the enemy taking advantage of the Israeli
avoidance of ground activity to develop answers to the Israeli equipment
(e.g. shoot enough rockets at the same time that are aimed well enough that most of them will in fact land inside a populated area so that the Israeli umbrella temporarily runs out of supplies).

Israel Speeds Iron Dome Short-Range Defense System
By BARBARA OPALL-ROME 01/28/08 13:30
www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=3327047&C=mideast


TEL AVIV - As the Israeli government mulls preventive and punitive responses to Gaza-launched rockets, Ministry of Defense-led developers are racing to deliver a new option for providing public protection and political maneuvering room for tackling the Palestinian terrorism problem.
Experts here say the Iron Dome defensive system, slated to arrive in 2010, should ease public clamoring for large-scale military incursions, collective punishment and other forms of escalation that bring short-term political palliation but long-term strategic damage.

Had Iron Dome or a comparable system been available during the recent spate of Gaza-launched salvos, Israel might not have attempted its siege of the Hamas-controlled coastal strip, defense sources here said.
The rocket attacks paused after the Jan. 18 cutoff of fuel and essential
supplies, but resumed when emergency deliveries began four days later. In the interim, images of incubator-bound infants and electricity-deprived
Gazans drew U.N. accusations of humanitarian abuses. And the siege also
prompted the Jan. 23 breaching of the barrier between Gaza and Egypt,
allowing the free passage of hungry shoppers and militants alike.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak promised additional steps against the rocket
threat - including "precision and lethal airstrikes" against suspected
terrorist leaders and rocket launching squads, and daily and nightly raids
on weapon storage sites.

"What's important for us is for the citizens of Sderot and the Western Negev to live in quiet," Barak said, referring to the southern border town and desert communities along Israel's southern border with Gaza. "And if that quiet requires noise from our side, there will be noise."

Referring to the Iron Dome and the short-range rockets it is designed to
intercept, Barak said Israel's defense establishment was nearing a
technological solution to the Palestinian threat. "We will bring a solution
to the Qassam threat," he repeatedly vowed.

Controversial Birth

Conceived in ambivalence and born into continuing controversy, the Iron Dome is fighting its way through an unprecedented fast-tracked, high-risk and cost-contained development regime. If the program proceeds according to plan, Israel will become the first to deploy an area-wide defense against short- and medium-range threats, and at a comparatively miniscule cost of $215 million.

Led by MoD's Research and Development Directorate and prime contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Iron Dome is optimized to protect
city-sized areas against rockets fired from ranges of 40 kilometers or less.
However, program officials say the system's target-tracking and intercept
capabilities could easily double that range, providing ample protective
overlap with the planned David's Sling higher-tiered intercepting system.
According to program officials here, basic research and development for the Iron Dome began in 2004, a year before Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

At the time, MoD development officials anticipated an upsurge in Palestinian rocket launches from Israeli-evacuated areas and earmarked a few million dollars for low-level studies, sums that were matched by Rafael. But the salvos on Sderot and other communities that quickly followed the Israeli withdrawal failed to convince Israel's top brass of the military need to defend against such cheap, plentiful and so-called strategically insignificant threats.

Despite repeated technical and operational presentations, MoD development authorities could not secure an Israel Air Force or Ground Force patron willing to fund the project and claim the mission.
It wasn't until the 2006 Lebanon War - when Israel's inability to defend
against rocket strikes tilted perceived postwar results in Hizbollah's
favor - that political leaders intervened to impose the system on reluctant warriors.

"Despite all we now know about the direct and indirect costs and the
tactical and strategic effects of these threats, many influential defense
experts and planners still don't think Israel needs an interceptor at this
level," said an Israel Air Force brigadier general who initiated the Iron
Dome project and directs development programs for the MoD and the military.

Beyond Iron Dome's continuing struggle to affirm its strategic legitimacy,
two former IAF commanders and other experts continue to challenge the MoD's selection of the Rafael concept, insisting the defunct U.S.-Israel Tactical High Energy Laser should be revived for the mission. In parallel, Israel Aerospace Industries is planning self-funded development of its own system to compete with Iron Dome for future export sales.

But in his first media interview, the MoD official said he was confident his
team would dispel lingering doubts about Iron Dome, particularly its ability
to intercept targets whose flight time often is measured in seconds. He said he expected today's skeptics to become tomorrow's supporters once the system starts to defeat expanding threats.

Robust But Selective Defense By 2010, the official said, Air Force users will be ready to declare initial operational capability of the lowest-tier Iron Dome defense.

The initial $215 million will yield a miniaturized multimode radar, Iron
Dome launchers, a battle-management-and-control (BMC) unit and "a
respectable operational inventory" of high-speed, homing interceptors, the official said. "We're talking about a very generous, day-night, all-weather,
area-wide footprint. Anything that enters our sector we'll be able to shoot down. This system will not be constrained by altitude, characteristics or
concentration of incoming salvos."

Oron Oriol, director of Rafael's Air-to-Air and Air Defense Missile Systems,
said the protective footprint of one Iron Dome battery will exceed 100
hundred square kilometers.

"A single launcher can protect a medium-sized city like Haifa or about 15
times the area of a small town," he said.

The Iron Dome system will also protect against Katyusha and other
longer-ranged rockets launched from Lebanon.

A Rafael promotional video recently cleared for release by security
officials describes an active radar homing missile that acquires targets and guides itself "to within passing distance" of approaching targets before
end-game warhead detonation. "All is accomplished within seconds while
striving to ensure that target debris falls outside protected areas,"
according to the video.

Oriol, who declined to discuss technical aspects, said, "It's a completely
new animal. We haven't yet seen anything like it."

Another unique Iron Dome attribute, program officials here say, is its
near-instant ability to differentiate between weapons headed toward
populated areas and those that will fall into the sea and open fields. The system also reacts differently during the day, when more people may be passing through open areas, and at night, when a less demanding concept of operations may be appropriate.
"The system will know to distinguish significant from nonsignificant impact
areas ... but if it won't be sure, it will intercept all incomings," Oriol
said.

And because flight time of the typical Qassam launched in northeast Gaza
toward Sderot is about 20 seconds, the whole process of discrimination will be accomplished in 7 seconds or less.


Iron Dome's ability to provide robust yet selective defense is essential to
"keeping it cheap," the MoD development official said. Considering the vast inventories needed for the thousands of threats to be covered, unit costs
must be kept at rock-bottom. Additionally, the system must be efficient, the program official said: "We can't afford to launch these interceptors in
vain."

As for the expedited program schedule, he noted that in less than a year -
and only weeks since funding reached program coffers - Iron Dome has
undergone dozens of simulations and many more static and dynamic tests of warheads, engines and other system elements. First launch of the Iron Dome's Tamir missile is anticipated later this year.
"We're not spending our time preparing too many viewgraphs. It's minimum bureaucracy, minimum time to market," the official said.
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Old 02-18-2008, 06:09 PM
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Exclamation U.S., Israel Pursue Counter Rocket, Artillery & Mortar(CRAM) Weapons

U.S., Israel Pursue Counter Rocket, Artillery & Mortar(CRAM) Weapons

The Extended Area Protection and Survivability (EAPS) program is part of an advanced technology objective (ATO) pursued by the U.S. Army's Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), seeking to protect U.S. forces against attack by rockets, artillery, and mortars (RAM). The program anticipates the use of guided munition technologies to intercept RAM threats. The system, comprising interceptors, sensors and fire control systems will provide stationary and mobile forces with 360-degree hemispherical 'umbrella' extending area protection from direct and indirect fires.

In February 2008 Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Space & Mission Systems were awarded $8.6 and $5.9 million contracts (respectively) to design prototype hardware for EAPS Battle Element. Both companies are expected to present their competing systems to the Army by the end of 2012.

A parallel Israeli program is in more advanced stages, with RAFAEL expecting to conduct initial test demonstrations of the Iron-Dome Wide Area Counter-RAM system later this year. The system, promoted by the Israeli Ministry of Defense as an urgent requirement to defeat short range rockets, both Palestinian fired Qasam improvised rocket and 107mm and 122mm Katyusha and Grad rockets, deployed by Hezbollah. The Israeli system will use a low-cost, autonomous guided missile designated Tamir, to defeat only those rockets projected to cause damage or risk to designated targets.


The Iron Dome C-RAM system is designed as a mobile defensive solution countering short range rockets and 155 mm artillery shell threats with ranges of up to 70 km in all- weather conditions, including low clouds, rain, dust storms or fog. The system uses a unique interceptor missile equipped with a special warhead that detonates any target in the air within seconds. The Iron Dome radar, based on Elta's Advanced Artillery Radar (AAR) will detect and identify the target and monitor multiple trajectories of incoming salvo in real time.

Target data will be transmitted to the Battle Management & Weapon Control (BMC) for processing, where each trajectory is extrapolated to analyze the expected impact point. If the estimated rocket trajectory poses a critical threat, a command is dispatched directly to the best placed launcher for immedate launch and intercept of the threat. The interceptor receives trajectory updates from the BMC via uplink communication. As it approaches the target, the missile employs its radar seeker to acquire the target, guiding the interceptor to pass at close proximity to the target. The location of the intended kill is calculated to be employed over a neutral area, therefore reducing collateral damage to the protected area.


Other companies engaged with the CRAM challenge is Raytheon, offering the Land-based Phalanx Weapon Systems (LPWS) called Centurion. This rapid firing guided gatling gun represent a revolutionary approach to point defense, as they are designed to intercept rockets, artillery and mortar rounds in the air before impact, thereby reducing or eliminating any damage they might cause. The system comprises the sensors, fire control and weapon in a single integrated unit, providing situational awareness, precision fires, real-time targeting and kill assessment. In Novebmer 2007 Raytheon was contracted by the pentagon to build 12 Centurion units to protect coalition operating bases in Iraq. In this role, the LPWS is integrated with counter-battery radar systems such as TPQ-36/37 which will be augmented in the future multi-mission radar known as EPQ-36. Raytheon is also proposing an enhancement to the system, utilizing parallel solid-state high power laser as an effector, replacing the gun.
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Old 02-19-2008, 04:19 AM
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Default Effective Response time

Something surprised me that Israel is authorizing $350 million to re-enforce Israeli towns near Gaza because apparently the Iron Dome will not be able to protect them

Does anyone else know something about this? All i have is a brief mentioning in Arutz 7.
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Old 02-19-2008, 05:32 AM
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Default Late 2009 for Earliest Deployment

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrittleSteel View Post
Something surprised me that Israel is authorizing $350 million to re-enforce Israeli towns near Gaza because apparently the Iron Dome will not be able to protect them

Does anyone else know something about this? All i have is a brief mentioning in Arutz 7.
The Iron Dome system won't be ready for operational deployment until late 2009 at the earliest.[1] In the meantime, everyone in range of the Kassam rockets will have to wait it out.


Reference:
[1]Robert Wall and David A Fulghum, "End-to-End Protection," Aviation Week & Space Technology, 167 (Dec 3, 2007), pp. 67-68.
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Old 02-19-2008, 05:38 AM
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That I can understand however the INN article says something very different. That Iron Dome is unable to protect the towns.

What do you think. If true it seems to defeat the purpose of these protection systems.

Quote:
Olmert: Iron Dome at Advanced Stage

(IsraelNN.com) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that the “Iron Dome” rocket protection system is at an advanced stage of development. The government has invested one billion shekels in the project, he said.
The Iron Dome system is being developed to shoot down short-range rockets, such as those used by Gaza terrorists. The system cannot protect areas within 4.5 kilometers of a rocket’s launch site, and government officials decided Sunday to approve a NIS 300 million plan to fortify buildings within 4.5 kilometers of Gaza.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Ne...sh.aspx/141775
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Old 02-19-2008, 11:48 AM
haamimhagolan haamimhagolan is offline
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It's a question of flight time. If the rocket isn't in the air long enough, the system won't have enough time to pick out the target, and obtain a firing solution. This is true of any anti-missile system - whether missile armed, laser armed or what have you. Also bear in mind that no would-be rocket team is going to be coming within 300 meters of the border fence, if they want to launch anything other than a suicide drill.

Sderot will be protected. Areas closer to the Gaza frontier may not be.
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Old 02-20-2008, 02:23 AM
BrittleSteel BrittleSteel is offline
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I agree that flight time is a factor, if too close, then there is not enough time to react and defend. But the article says Iron Dome will not be able to defend the area 4.5 km around the Gaza border. I'm no expert in anti-missile defenses, but is that wide an area, realistic? I don't know. I haven't really heard anyone else (articles) mention it so i hope Arutz 7 is mistaken.
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Old 02-20-2008, 02:43 AM
Boges Boges is offline
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Well, I haven't read all the articles, but I'm skeptical about an approach that treats the symptom without addressing the underlying problem.

Then again, the idea of Gaza surrounded by a fence and an anti-missile system is kinda funny. Maybe eventually they'll start acting like normal human beings, and then can be treated as such.

Last edited by Boges; 02-20-2008 at 02:49 AM..
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:03 PM
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Arrow Everyone knows: Iron Dome defense won't shield Sderot from Qassams

Everyone knows: Iron Dome defense won't shield Sderot from Qassams

http://web.israelinsider.com/Article...rity/12658.htm

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was supposedly surprised to learn last Sunday that the Iron Dome defense system, approved last year and supposed to protect Israel's citizens against Qassam rockets, cannot help 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. Because Sderot is less than two kilometers from Beit Hanun, from which the rockets are fired, Iron Dome will not help.

In January, Olmert implied that Iron Dome was almost ready. "Just over one year ago, Prime Minister Olmert and then Defense Minister Amir Peretz approved the Iron Dome and Magic Wand anti-missile systems. The latter is designed to defend against 40-250 kilometer-range -- 24 miles to 150 miles range -- missiles. When it is operational, it will protect Israeli citizens against missiles such as the Fajr and Zilzal. Iron Dome is designed to intercept 4-70 kilometer-range rockets such as the Qassam, Grad and Katyusha," the Israeli statement said. It did not mention that its expected delivery date was three years hence.

The MFA said Olmert "was briefed by Rafael Chairman of the Board Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Ilan Biran and Rafael Director-General Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yedidya Yaari regarding the development of the aforementioned systems, which are among the most advanced in the world."

"The (Israeli) Defense Ministry has requested that the Iron Dome system be prepared for deployment as soon as possible. It is currently due to be operational by early 2010, when it will be deployed in the south of the country," the MFA said. However, the statement also noted, "The Rafael directors emphasized that no system currently in use, including those incorporating lasers, are able to provide a solution to Qassams."

"Prime Minister Olmert asked the Rafael directors to make every effort to accelerate the development of the Iron Dome system, which will be used -- first and foremost -- to protect residents of the south against Qassam rockets from the Gaza Strip," the statement said. "My government was the first to decide on the development and deployment of defensive systems against the short-range missiles that threaten the Israeli home front. I am proud of the ability of our defense industries to respond to the challenge set by the government. I ask you to develop the Iron Dome system as quickly as possible and to provide us the possibility of deploying as many Iron Dome systems as possible," Olmert said.

Olmert, 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 ($80 million). But just a day later, it as discovered there were insufficient funds and only 3,600 homes in Sderot and the Gaza envelope could be fortified within the next two years.

The decision to focus on the development of Iron Dome raises so many questions that an examination of the process that led to it is in order. The questions include, for example, whether the decision was influenced by considerations relating to commercial bodies, the likely implications of a deal to export this defense system to a foreign country which is not located in the NATO continents (America and Europe), and the motives of some of those involved in the process. It may well be that nothing concrete lurks behind these questions, but we must not ignore the need to find satisfactory answers for them.

Haaretz's Reuven Pedatzur, who broke the analysis of Iron Dome's limitations, writes: "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."

Worse: "Iron Dome will also not be able to cope with rockets that are launched much farther away. According to data available from Rafael, the average flight time of the intercept missile to the point of encounter is another 15 seconds. In other words, to intercept a rocket using Iron Dome requires at least 30 seconds. This is the time it takes a Qassam to cover six kilometers."

Pedatzur wonders why this information did not get to Olmert, especially when an official in the Sderot area raised the issue of the too-long response time in a letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, which merited an evasive response. "The reply of the Defense Ministry was sent to the council head on February 10. The letter is signed by attorney Ruth Bar, the defense minister's assistant. "The analysis [done by the Defense Ministry] found that in regard to the threats that were identified by the warning system during April-November 2007, one Iron Dome battery has the ability to cope and cover an area far larger than that of Sderot. The capability of Iron Dome to cope with mortar shells has not yet been examined in depth. I will add that the issue of the flight time cannot be detailed in this letter, owing to security considerations." The response that an Iron Dome battery covers a "far larger" area than that of Sderot ignores the more salient point that it doesn't cover Sderot!

The Iron Dome system is also completely impractical economically. Pedatzur says that each missile will cost about $100,000. Kassam rockets cost a tiny fraction of that. Thus if the Palestinian make thousands of Kassams, Israel will need to produce thousands of Iron Dome missiles.

The selection of Iron Dome from among 14 proposals, approved by both defense ministers
Amir Peretz and Ehud Barak, is incomprehensive when a rejected system was the laser-based Nautilus defense system, whose development is nearly complete and whose effectiveness was proved in a series of tests (100 percent success in 46 tests, including success in intercepting mortar shells). Pedatzur notes that a version of the system is already in place in the north, protecting Kiryat Shmona, and an evolved American version could be installed in 18 month, twice as fast as the Iron Dome.

When Pedatzur asked why Israel rejected the laser system, the Defense Ministry spokesman's
"reply is studded with inaccuracies, to say the least. The Nautilus / Skyguard will not be "far more costly" than Iron Dome, but probably "far less costly." Nor is it clear what the Defense Ministry spokesman is referring to when he states that Nautilus "did not achieve the goal of 100 percent hits but far less."

Part of the explanation for the opposition to the laser system may lie in the fact that it was not a solely Israeli product, and that it therefore could not be exported freely without US permission. Pedatzur also implied that the decision was influenced by the desire to sell the Iron Dome system to a foreign country, which he implies is Singapore. A Kadima member of Knesset who pushed for Iron Dome was reportedly a paid adviser to the government of Singapore.

The decision may ultimately wind up in court, as Sderot residents have petitioned to force the defense ministry to install the Nautilus laser-based system and to order the Skyguard.

Dr. Aaron Lerner of IMRA points to another important implication of the Iron Dome's limitations. Its inability to stop short-range rocket fire, and its prohibitively high per-missile costs means that Israel has no solution to stop rockets fired from the West Bank. "Back in August 2007 Barak took the position that a precondition for any significant withdrawal from the West Bank is the development of defenses against rocket fire. It now turns out that Iron Dome cannot meet this precondition.
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:18 PM
Boges Boges is offline
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If those limitations are in fact the case, than that is a very upsetting development. "fortifying ourselves to death" is bad, but this seems a fair bit worse. In my mind, the worst part is the cost effectiveness. Any solution which costs 10 times as much as each kassam missile is ultimately going to fail. That figure is absolutely ridiculous.

I read a little bit ago about a Lockheed Martin "machine gun" type anti-missile system, which fires a "cloud" of pellets at the incoming missile... what's the deal with that? That seems a bit better, though again, I'm no expert.
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Old 02-25-2008, 12:13 PM
haamimhagolan haamimhagolan is offline
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Reuven Pedatzur is a journalist, not an engineer. He is attempting to make the most sensational claims that he possibly can in order to sell copy. The facts that he leaves out or misrepresents are numerous, including:
  • The projected unit cost of the Tamir interceptor used by the Iron Dome system is $35K, not $100K
  • Laser systems such as Skyguard offer no advantage in terms of target acquisition and targeting times. It still takes just as long to track an incoming missile and acquire a firing solution.
  • Contrary to what the journalist implies, there is NO operationally ready laser based system (Nautilus, Skyguard or otherwise), that is ready for deployment in Israel. The only systems that exist are experimental systems that exist on an American firing range.
  • The cost for developing and deploying an operational chemical laser system would be an order of magnitude greater than deploying Iron Dome.
  • The chemical agents used by a chemical laser such as Skyguard would pose as much of a threat to the local population as the Kassam rockets do.
  • The majority of Sderot is more than than 4.5 km from the Gaza frontier, and would be fully protected by Iron Dome.
A missile defense system such as Iron Dome is only a partial solution to the threat posed by rockets based in Gaza. It needs to be supported by a proactive, armed, UAV-based patrol and monitoring system that targets would-be Hamas rocket teams while they are attempting to set up and launch. Yes it is imperfect - but it is better than no missile defense, or one that we cannot afford.

I may not be a fan of Olmert, but I care for journalists even less.
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