Monday, July 20, 2009

Iron Dome missile defense system

For those who say a missile defense system can't be made to work...

Israel had the first successful test of its Iron Dome anti-rocket system on July 15th. The system detected and shot down several BM-21 rockets. The Israelis expect to have the system in action, along the Gaza border, later this year. The manufacturer, Rafael, was offered a large bonus if they got the system working ahead of schedule. When Iron Dome was first proposed three years ago, it was to take five years (until 2012) to get it operational. In addition to the cash incentive, there's also the rockets still coming out of Gaza, and being stockpiled by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Iron Dome uses two radars to quickly calculate the trajectory of the incoming rocket (Palestinian Kassams from Gaza, or Russian and Iranian designs favored by Hezbollah in Lebanon) and do nothing if the rocket trajectory indicates it is going to land in an uninhabited area. But if the computers predict a rocket coming down in an inhabited area, a $40,000 guided missile is fired to intercept the rocket. This makes the system cost-effective. That's because Hezbollah fired 4,000 rockets in 2006, and Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired over six thousand Kassam rockets in the past eight years, and the Israelis know where each of them landed. Over 90 percent of these rockets landed in uninhabited areas.


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