Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Anti-Missile Defenses

Lesslie Susser at The Jerusalem Report has a lengthly and rather technical article about the multi-layered systems Israel is buying (from the US) or developing (with the Americans and partially alone) to protect the country from all sorts of malicious projectiles from morter shells to ballistic missiles:

Barak advocates what he calls a "multi-layered" missile defense, with a
combination of complementary systems affording protection against attacks from
just a few kilometers to over 1,000 miles. Ideally, the Phalanx would cover
threats up to around 12 kilometers; the Iron Dome, being developed by Israel
Defense Industries' Rafael and scheduled for operational deployment early next
year, would deal with Qassams and Katyushas fired from between 4 and 40
kilometers; the American-made Patriot Advanced Capabilities or PAC-2 already in
operation, and David's Sling (a.k.a. Magic Wand), being developed jointly by
Rafael and Raytheon and scheduled for deployment in 2012-13, would meet
medium-range threats like the Iranian-made Fadjr 3 and 5, Zelzal 2 or the Syrian
Scud-C from 40 to several hundred kilometers; and the Arrow, which could also
provide cover against the Zelzal or the Scuds, would take it from there for
longer-distance missiles, like the Shihab.

Barak sees the creation of an anti-projectile shield around Israel as a "strategic goal." Not only would it protect civilians and strategic installations, but the knowledge that their missiles might be intercepted could deter potential aggressors from using them.
An effective missile shield could also give Israeli policy-makers added
options: For example, they might feel more confident about withdrawing from the
West Bank if they believed strategic installations like Ben-Gurion Airport were
adequately protected against rocket attack.

Waging war is a complicated matter, including technologically. But it looks like within a few years Israel will be better protected from these sort of nasties than anywhere else in the world.

Because it's more threatened, one might add.


Gavin said...

What's your own take on this and Iran Yaacov? I find the the public announcements on progress, deploymant dates etc a bit disconcerting. Naming schedules brings into existence a window of opportunity for those who wish to attack Israel. Iran didn't hand over 30,000 rockets to Hizbollah so they could be turned into fenceposts. They're an offensive weapon that, for Hizbollah, have no other practical use in Lebanon but to fire at Israel.

I've long believed that the Iranians have been working to a deliberate long-term strategy for combatting Israel, and rockets play a big part in that strategy. Once this system is deployed in sufficient numbers, and proven to work, Iran really won't have many military options left. They can't provoke Israel to attack Hizbollahs fortified defences without the rockets, and that does seem to be the thrust of their military tactics. Can too much loose talk about the rocket defence trigger another war before the system is deployed? I wonder that people are taking Iran far too lightly, they haven't been spending $billions in Lebanon for nothing.

Regards, Gavin.

Yaacov said...

Hi Gavin -

I can't answer your question. My guess, however, is that publishing such stories isn't thought thru, as your question implies. It happens either because some politcian needs his voters to know he's laboring tirelessly for their well-being, or because some journalist decided to put together the various elements of a story, or lots of other possible scenarios. The one in which somebody thought thru the implications of telling the Iranians they only have two years left, say, seems not likely to have happened, I expect.

Though if you really want to think machiavellian, you can say Israel is signaling Iran that it's about to loose it's sticks, and would be advised to go for Obama's carrots. But that sounds way too far-sighted and devious for our Fearless Leaders.