Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shouldn't the choice be obvious ...

The sad news from Sderot today is that the Qassams coming from Gaza have claimed another victim.  A man was killed while waiting in his car near Sapir college in Sderot.  He is just the last in a line of people who have been killed or injured by the so called "harmless" rockets from Gaza.

This news comes on top of a recent revealing article in Haaretz that talks about the anti-missile defense system being developed by Israel to counter the Qassam threat.  Israel has chosen to develop a system called "Iron Dome" which targets the incoming missiles with another missile, much like the Patriot or Arrow system.  The article points out that due to economics and a host of other factors, the "Iron Dome" system will be completely ineffective against the Qassams.

This has always seemed obvious to me.  Why counter a $750 dollar Qassam with a $100,000 dollar missile?  Why build a new missile when there are already better options available?

In my mind I always imagined that Israel would employ the Skyguard anti-missile laser.  After all, it had helped develop the Nautilus prototype.  To see just how effective the system can be check out this video.

David at Treppenwitz has also talked about this issue a couple of times.  He suggested a currently operational system called the "Vulcan Phalanx," which is right now protecting American troops in Iraq.

Whatever system is chosen, it seems obvious that there are options, and options that are available now.  I simply can't understand what the Israeli government was thinking, or how they thought no one would notice.  I mean doesn't it seem obvious?

1 comment:

Alan said...

Hey Jonah,
I liked your post about missile defense. There are a few subtle points that need to be mentioned that don't always make it to the media. Unlike a battery operated laser pointer, the type of laser that is powerful enough to blast a missile from the sky is most often powered by reactions from non-reusable chemicals. Unfortunately, these chemicals are extremely toxic. If there was no wind blowing, the nautilus demo was not safe for the soldiers to operate. If there was wind, the fear was poisoning Sderot residents. There are high power 'solid state' lasers that do not use chemicals, but they are not yet powerful enough. Another issue with a laser system is that it works by exploding the missile. If the missile's trigger or explosives don't work, as is often the case with cheap kassams, there is little a laser can do.

The phalanx system can only defend against a point (such as a ship) and not an area. The article pays lip service to this, but it is truly not practical. Additionally, unlike a laser system that can detonate a rocket over the desert, the phalanx would only be able to detonate the rocket close to the target, which means the shrapnel would fall on Sderot regardless.