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The Military Technology

Why Iron Dome Might Only Work For Israel 377

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-for-everyone dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Many this week have declared Israel's American financed Iron Dome rocket defense system a success. Some have even gone so far to declare it a vindication of Ronald Reagan's 1980's Star Wars missile defense system. Pundits have even gone so far to assume the system could be sold to other nations. However, the Iron Dome may not be the game changer many are making it out to be. Taking out unsophisticated rockets is quite different than advanced missiles: '...the technical and strategic challenges of shooting down ballistic missiles differ considerably from those of shooting down unguided rockets. BMD shares with rocket defense some common technological ground; both require fast reaction time and impressive sensor capabilities, and the Iron Dome project has benefited from technical work on missile defense. However, ballistic missiles in flight behave differently from unguided, sub-atmospheric rockets.'"
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Why Iron Dome Might Only Work For Israel

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @08:44PM (#42062589)

    Aren't unguided rockets also ballistic missiles? How are they different?

    dom

    • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@jwsmyth ... minus physicist> on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:05PM (#42062787) Homepage Journal

          Yes, but people generally equate ballistic missiles with ICBMs.

          The ones that the Iron Dome is made to work against are relatively short range. I did some research on this after discussing it with some other people. They can basically intercept unguided missiles which cross into Israeli airspace, with a total flight of 3 km to 30 km.

          The primary missile it's used to intercept are pretty primitive. Think along the same lines as the kind most readers here would have built out of cardboard from an Estes kit. They use fairly primitive solid fuel, a payload of common or improvised explosives, fins to make it fly sort of straight, and not much else.

          Thousands have been launched towards Israel. Dozens have been hurt.

          It could work against any number of threats, but I would guess it is best at something with a fairly horizontal trajectory. If it were to intercept something like an ICBM, I would guess the resulting blast would still have the effect the attacker desired.

      • by JWSmythe (446288)

            Where's the edit button when you need it?

            The primary missile it is made to intercept is made of metal. Actually, all the cases that I read about were metal cased missiles, with a very obvious flight path.

      • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:41PM (#42063029)

        Thousands have been launched towards Israel. Dozens have been hurt.

        This kind of says it all, really... I wish I could find the reference at the moment, but I read somewhere a couple of years ago that most of the rockets that are being fired into Israel don't even have a payload, and are just empty shells. Compare and contrast to how many have been injured or killed by Israeli reaction (not to mention the blockade of medical supplies and construction equipment/supplies into the west bank). There was an episode of The West Wing, in Season 1 which summed it up quite nicely... episode 3 - Proportional Response. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJMVtP1CbOM [youtube.com]

        I really hope that the Iron Dome system works as advertised, and that it allows cooler heads to prevail. I also hope that the cease fire that was negotiated and announced today succeeds. If either of those fails to happen, it does not bode well.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I read somewhere a couple of years ago that most of the rockets that are being fired into Israel don't even have a payload, and are just empty shells. Compare and contrast to how many have been injured or killed by Israeli reaction

          What would you consider to be a proportional response?

          Also, assuming that you are American (you may not be, of course, but changes are good), remember Afganistan? There is still a war raging there, plus at least 5 other countries are being bombed on regular basis. All that in response to an 11+ year old event (if a major one). You wanna talk about "proportional response"?

          • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @12:44AM (#42063967)

            Also, assuming that you are American (you may not be, of course, but changes are good), remember Afganistan? There is still a war raging there, plus at least 5 other countries are being bombed on regular basis. All that in response to an 11+ year old event (if a major one). You wanna talk about "proportional response"?

            You're confusing "an American" with "America, the country." Realityimpaired is most likely a guy who lives in the US. He is most likely not one of the people who got the US involved in Afghanistan.

            If you were implying there was hypocrisy there because he lives in a country that did something bad, then you're a hypocrite for living wherever it is you live, because wherever it is you live, people did/do bad stuff there too.

            Also, really, do you think that someone daring to question whether Israel was morally justified was all gung-ho about Bush invading Afghanistan? I guess if you're not from America, the basics of our politics might be difficult. The answer is no: Realityimpaired likely was disgusted at his country for that.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            It isn't the response that is needed. What is needed is an end to the blockade. While I can understand Israel's kneejerk reaction on implementing it, it really is illegal by international law to take punitive action on an entire populace for the crimes of the terrorists. The UN recently released a report that noted that the Gaza strip will be unlivable by 2020. This has to stop.

            But this won't be enough. Israel needs to be serious on negotiations with both the leaders of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Con

            • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @02:20AM (#42064305) Journal

              If the Palestines get their way, the gaza strip becomes a sovereign nation and it is perfectly legal to close the borders between nations. THAT is the HUGE elephant in the room in this conflict. The Palestines NEED Israel more then Israel needs them and the arabs don't want them at all.

              You see, the occupied territories BELONG to someone. The arab neighbours of Israel who lost it after Israel didn't get wiped out when the Arab nations ganged up together to wipe it out and instead Israel took sizable chunks of their land. If Israel withdraws, possession of those lands should naturally revert to those nations.

              Right now all the occupied territories have TWO borders. One with Israel and one with an Arab nation. BOTH sides are closed. In fact the Muslim side tends to be FAR more closed. Egypt has lost many a live dealing with smuggling into Gaza. None of its neighbours WANT a Palestine state on their border or they could have created one ANY TIME THEY WANTED TO. Palestines are trouble, they are the one group who so far has achieved a lot through armed resistance. There is not a single neighbour to Israel that doesn't have its own trouble groups that could take inspiration from this. Hell, just ask Khaddafi. Did he enjoy the people taking power through armed resistance? Didn't think so. A Palestine victory will send the message that armed rebellion works, with the Arab spring a lot know this already but it is a message those in power would care not to reinforce.

              An indepedent Palestine state would need to exist on its own, without relying on Israeli resources and infrastructure. The border would be 100% closed. Canadians can't just wander into the US as they please either can they? And those are somewhat friendly nations that just think the other is silly. The border between a palestine state and Israel would be closer to the border between north and south korea and that one is PERFECTLY legal. Sovereign nations do NOT have to deal with each other if they don't want to. And any attack from one may be answered with force by the other, as much force as the attacked side pleases. That is what war is all about after all. Real war, not police actions however twisted they might get.

              Do you REALLY THINK that Russia, China and Iran want to send the message that armed resistance by Muslims against a more powerful opponent can work in the long run? The first already has exactly the same problem with Tjetnie, China has its muslims who want independence and Iran is supressing its own population harshly. Why do you THINK that Hamas rockets are still so primitive? Iran wants to build nukes but it can't even build a decent rocket? It ain't rocket science anymore. Hamas gets the absolute minimum support to keep them going but not enough to actually achieve anything. Why do you think the west is the biggest donator of humanitarian support? It is no secret Israel got its economy going on bad land thanks to enormous donations, Israel is the only nations were the taxpayers live abroad and WANT to pay taxes freely. But Muslims ain't poor either, were is the Golf State Marshall plane to kickstart the Palestine economy with a few billions?

              No, having the conflict brewing suits most Muslims just fine, shows they are not just rolling over and giving in, that they are making a fist against the great Satans but actually finishing it, one way or another, that would risk the cozy lifestyles of the powers that be.

              And if you want to resolve this, why not start on something simpler first.

              Sort out the United Kingdom, it is easy, just sort out Ireland, Schotland, Wales and Brittain. They all speak the same language (HA!) so it should be a cakewalk!

              Next, the basks, Belgium and oh sort out the European tax havens. Then you can start thinking about Tibet, Korea and maybe then you will be ready to sort out the middle east.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward

                That was a pretty long post for the premise that you support the oppression of the Palestinians because it might upset the current world order. And yes, Wales and Scotland are being oppressed to the exact same degree as the Palestinians. Give me a fucking break.

                What the Palestinians need are the rights given to every other free citizen in the world. The right to travel, the right to citizenship, the right to justice, and the right to make a living in their homeland. Currently they have none of these rights.

                • by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @08:28AM (#42065511) Journal

                  Look at everything said in the GP comment, not just the part you pick to rail about.

                  There are two closed borders. Why does the blockade of the border on the Arab side get a pass and the one on the otherside not?

                  The Arab states USE the Palestinians as a trapped proxy force against Israel in a cynical and vile fashion. And 'progressive' types around the world ignore this or even cheer them on. How disgusting and hypocritical.

              • by mrvan (973822) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @04:59AM (#42064801)

                If the Palestines get their way, the gaza strip becomes a sovereign nation and it is perfectly legal to close the borders between nations. THAT is the HUGE elephant in the room in this conflict. The Palestines NEED Israel more then Israel needs them and the arabs don't want them at all.

                If Gaza were a souvereign nation:

                1. Israel would be totally free to close the land border. In fact, Israel has closed borders with Lebanon and Syria and that is fine in terms of international law

                2. Israel would *not* be allowed to blockade Gaza from the sea and air, as it currently does. Blockading is an act of war and would justify an armed response from Gaza, making Israeli the aggressor if a war occurs. (in fact, blockading of the red sea leading to Eilat was was part of the casus belli for the 6 days war, so Israel certainly acknowledges that blockade is an act of war).

                3. There would be no objection to Gaza importing arms from Egypt and Iran and training a real military.

                At the moment, (1) is already a reality, and Israel really does not want (2) and (3). In fact, preventing (re)arming of Hamas was a stated objective of the 2009 Gaza War. Although economically Gaza would profit much more from integration with Israel, at the moment they're getting the worst of both worlds: they are blockaded from outside and closed off from Israel. So, Gaza (the region/potential country/people) absolutely has nothing to gain from the status quo.

                (Of course, whether current Hamas leadership prefers the status quo to a more normalized situation where they can't abuse the conflict with Israel to stay in power is a totally different question...)

            • by Maudib (223520) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @05:02AM (#42064811)

              Israel pulled out of the west bank entirely in 2008. Hamas brought in a bunch of weapons and attacked Israel, so Israel put in place a blockade.

              The West Bank has no blockade, because they don't attack Israel. They also have freedom of movement and travel and a growing economy. The settlements are provocations, that the government often bulldozes. Its not government policy.

              If Hamas committed to stopping attacks and recognizing Israel's right to exist, they would get a two state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital, just like Israel had offered at Camp David. However Hamas and their backers have no interest in that. They don't want permanent peace, they want nothing less then the complete destruction of Israel.

              Thats what I don't get. Who can look at Hamas's charter and who's backing them and honestly conclude that they are the slightest bit interested in peace. They are indiscriminate butchers, not just of Israelis but of Palestinians too. Who on earth would consider entrenching their power to be a good thing for anyone in the region. Israel is no saint, but they would gladly trade land for peace if it actually meant peace.

              • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @06:14AM (#42065009)

                First, Palestinians don't have freedom of movement in the West Bank. The roads are segregated [visualizingpalestine.org] with special Israeli only roads, restricted Palestinian roads, and full use Palestinian roads. Israelis can use all roads. In order to travel, Palestinians must go through checkpoints to access different areas [wikipedia.org] is what is now popularly referred to as the West Bank Archipelago due to the isolation of Palestinian cities and land. This is partially due to the settlements and Israeli-only or Palestinian restricted roads and also due to military bases and land that Israel is reserving for future use.

                Second, Israel has been continuing to build settlements. That was one of the promises that Netanyahu made to win his seat. They just announced a new one [huffingtonpost.com] just before this recent war. Obama has almost been on his knees begging Netanyahu to stop since further construction is so inflammatory to this region. But even if he did, religious hardliners in Israel have been know to perform Price Tag [wikipedia.org] attacks as reprisals for any restrictions on building settlements.

          • >Also, assuming that you are American (you may not be, of course, but changes are good), remember Afganistan? There is still a war raging there, plus at least 5 >other countries are being bombed on regular basis. All that in response to an 11+ year old event (if a major one). You wanna talk about "proportional response"? This argument is a logical fallacy know as the ad hominem attack. A statement is true or false on its own merits regardless of who is doing the stating.
          • by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @07:19AM (#42065247)

            What would you consider to be a proportional response?

            At this stage? Proportional would be wiping Palestine off the face of the Earth. While I understand their complaint, they don't behave in a civilized nor intelligent manner. They lob rockets and Israel, then get all uppity when Israel attacks their launch sites like its not okay to do so.

            Palestinian 'traitors' tell the IDF were the rocket sites are so Israel doesn't carpet bomb them ... and they behead the 'traitors' in the streets. The 'traitors' that saved countless civilians lives by making military targets known for accurate attacks rather than carpet bombing.

            Their citizens are proud of their terrorists and think Israel should pay them because their sons get killed when they do shit like take hostages from the Church of the Nativity.

            America isn't the only country that is in Afghanistan, and it wasn't the first in there either. Hell, you can't even spell it.

            There are no innocents when they hide murderers in their ranks. Take your proportional response and shove it up your ass. Proportional is what it takes to make it stop.

          • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@jwsmyth ... minus physicist> on Thursday November 22, 2012 @09:25AM (#42065807) Homepage Journal

            What would you consider to be a proportional response?

            That's where I'm confused to people's responses.

            You neutralize the threat.

            If someone is launching rockets from Point A, towards your Point B.
            You return fire at Point A.

            The launchers are destroyed. Any more rockets at that site are destroyed. The people launching those rockets are destroyed. There may be civilian casualties at Point A, but they can be assumed to be colluding with the attacker(s).

            The weapons operators of Point B (Israel) have sufficient technology to do this without missing wildly.

            The American (United States, for those confused about the usage in this context) response typically misses wildly.

            Follow the Richard Reid attempt with his shoe, the American response was that all domestic passengers have to pass their shoes through X-ray.

            The idea that a binary explosive could be held in common liquid containers has resulted in all liquid containers greater than 3.4 oz are forbidden from flights.

            And the terrorist attacks of 2001 resulted in two wars against nations that were only thought to have had involvement.

            It could be said that we aren't very good at proportional response. It could be said that we are very *bad* at it.

        • by JWSmythe (446288)

          Thanks.

          When I went hunting for information on the system, I was told that it could take down an RPG. My immediate reaction was, that's impossible. Oddly enough, it can't do it.

          I really hope that the Iron Dome system works as advertised, and that it allows cooler heads to prevail. I also hope that the cease fire that was negotiated and announced today succeeds. If either of those fails to happen, it does not bode well.

          There are a few things that are givens, based on current and historical behavior. War in

        • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:54PM (#42063781) Homepage
          Funny that all the responsibility lies on Israel when Hamas could, you know, just stop attacking with rockets. Then there would be no people killed by Israeli reaction. Seems a simple solution? Especially as Hamas knows that there will be an Israeli reaction and the Israelis themselves have clearly stated that there will be a reaction. Indeed the very word "reaction" implies a reply to a previous action. What's wrong with my solution?
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Hamas will not stop until they value their own civilians more than they value the possibility of killing Israelis.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:41PM (#42063045)

        The 3-30km figure is completely off. Iron Dome already shot down rockets coming into Tel Aviv - some 80km away.

        It can do more than that, it's barely at v1.1.

        But the article is bogus in general. Iron Dome was designed to counter short range weapons. Surprise surprise, it won't work on ICBMs. It's still extremely useful to protect military based around the world, airports, and border cities (like Seoul).

        Israel has not one but two additional anti missile defense systems. One operational - Arrow, which already meets the challenges mentioned in this article, and another one in development (Magic Wand) - for medium range missiles. Each has its own purpose - countering a specific type of weapon, and they don't replace one another.

      • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @01:00AM (#42064041) Journal

        and?
        Let me highlight a bit of fact here, that you did not find out in actual research discussing it with military people who would have clarified.
        Believe it or not, but the unguided small missiles are a hell of a lot harder to intercept than ICBM's. Smaller and more frequent. ICBM's have more risk, but the unguided ones were basically impossible to intercept prior to Iron Dome. The issue with ICBM's is not that they can be intercepted (that part's easy), but the risk of fallout that increases by the second as the missiles head back towards the earth and/or the risk to other countries if they are detonated in upper atmosphere.

        If you recall the missile system russia was panicking about when countries near it's borders wanted to install it, it was this same project working successfully. Russia is probably shitting itself right now, as this is effectively a successful demonstration.

        It's not about the flight path at all - I doubt they predict based on flight path, or the intercept process would fail routinely just due to wind variations.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        So basically it'd be useless against the type of missiles Israel throws back?

    • The enemy in this case is less than 100km away so the missiles come in very slow.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by autocannon (2494106)

      I've learned very quickly, that if you read anything about military systems posted on slashdot that you better not hope for valid answers in the comments. The posters here have a very good grasp on Command and Conquer, but not real military tactics. Plus they just love to point out how that same system won't be effective once the enemy "upgrades" their weapons to the even better version that flies faster or spins or gets evasive, or whatever else they come up with. Cause that happens instantaneously in r

  • american financed? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @08:46PM (#42062609)

    The US provided some funding, they did not fully design or fund technology.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Dome#Co-production_with_the_United_States

  • one other place (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jefp (90879) <jef@mail.acme.com> on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @08:48PM (#42062621) Homepage

    Since it works on artillery shells too, the other place it would work real well is: Seoul.

    • Re:one other place (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @08:58PM (#42062721)

      Not really. One of the key reasons why the Iron Dome works for Israel is because the rocket attacks aren't coordinated. If Hamas launched ALL of its rockets/artillery AT THE SAME TIME, the Israeli Iron Dome system would simply be overwhelming. Don't forget, about 10% of the rockets/artillery are getting through and thats with staggered/uncoordinated attacks. If they were all launched at the same time (which, the North Korean military is surely trained to do), the failure rate would easily double or triple simply because reload times would create opening in the defense.

      • Re:one other place (Score:5, Informative)

        by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:35PM (#42062985)

        It's a somewhat misleading mistranslation but the 90% rate is the accuracy rate of the rockets not the efficiency of the whole system. WHEN the incoming missile is recognized and targeted in time, they fire a rocket which has 90% chance of hitting it. If it doesn't hit, they fire a second one. So that rate is more related to the cost-efficiency of the system than its safety. Of the rockets fired at Israel they only managed to shoot down about half.

        • Feature, not bug (Score:3, Informative)

          by Mathinker (909784)

          > Of the rockets fired at Israel they only managed to shoot down about half.

          This is a "feature", not a bug. The targeting calculation take into consideration the landing point of the rocket.

      • Not really. One of the key reasons why the Iron Dome works for Israel is because the rocket attacks aren't coordinated. If Hamas launched ALL of its rockets/artillery AT THE SAME TIME, the Israeli Iron Dome system would simply be overwhelming. Don't forget, about 10% of the rockets/artillery are getting through and thats with staggered/uncoordinated attacks. If they were all launched at the same time (which, the North Korean military is surely trained to do), the failure rate would easily double or triple simply because reload times would create opening in the defense.

        Another reason Iron Dome is working with a limited deployment is that there are only a very few trajectories out of Gaza that line up on anything valuable in Israel. Put your radars and interceptors where they can engage anything on those trajectories and you have a much easier problem to solve.

        Also, actually, it's more like about 50% of the rockets are getting through. It's just that Iron Dome calculates the probable impact area before deciding whether or not to engage a particular rocket. If it's heade

    • by Jeff1946 (944062)

      each rocket costs about $50k, not so good for antiartillery

    • Re:one other place (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lucm (889690) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:19PM (#42062889)

      Seoul is definitely a very good example of building defense against low-tech attacks. The Iron Dome is impressive but if Israel's ennemies start doing like North Korea and dig tunnels under the DMZ it will be useless. So far the Americans in the Korean JSA have found (and closed) 3 tunnels, one of which was wide enough to allow a full-scale invasion.

      People underestimate low-tech. The West Bank Barrier, which is basically a big wall, can be blamed from a humanitarian perspective, but from a security/military perspective it actually helped to drastically minimize the number of car and suicide bombings on the israeli territory; now the war is fought on the outskirts or directly in other countries (such as Lebanon) and the focus is on rockets, but 20 years ago the situation was totally different with bus or market bombs being typical.

      History is full of successful low-tech solutions, like the barbed wire wall built by Mussolini's henchman (Graziani) in Libya that prevented the mujahideen to bring supplies to the resistance. History is also full of high-tech solutions that ended up being an expensive fiasco, like the Maginot Line. (Some people would put Reagan's SDI in that list but as a conspiracy theory buff I prefer to think it was all a master plan to push USSR to bankrupt itself by building a bigger arsenal).

      As far as rockets are concerned, I'd be curious to see a cost analysis of the Iron Dome versus a shitload of snipers with high-powered rifles trying to shoot rockets as they fly over the territory. Just sayin'.

      • Re:one other place (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Baloroth (2370816) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:41PM (#42063031)

        A sniper shooting a rocket out of the air? I think you've been watching too many movies. It's considered a good shot for a sniper to hit a relatively stationary human-sized target at 1-2km away. While it's hard to find a good figure, the rockets Hamas et al are using look to be traveling at 200m/s, which means they will cover the effective firing range in 5-6 seconds, which is nowhere near enough time to get a bead and fire. With a few hundred snipers and a known launch point, they could maybe hit 1 out of every 100 by sheer luck, if that (although I grant you even a near hit might knock the rocket off course or destroy it, it's still going to be incredibly ineffective).

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by lucm (889690)

          200 m/s is about 7 times the speed of trap shooting. I guess it's a bit fast and it does not help that the sniper does not get to scream "pull" to control fire rate... but I'm sure a lot of people can do it, like Tom Berenger, or Ed Harris, or that guy from the last Rambo movie.

          On a side note, I have no idea why you say I've been watching too many movies.

          • by Baloroth (2370816)

            Trap shooting is done using shotguns for a reason, and at a few hundred feet, the rockets can cover miles. I mean, sure, there are other ways to shoot down the rockets, but "guys with guns" probably isn't a terribly practical one (I'm not even sure I'd want to blow up a rocket at short range, some of them can carry ~100lb warheads, so you'd end up loosing a lot of the shooters, maybe even if they actually hit the missile). One system I've seen mentioned is the US's Phalanx system, which is designed for exac

      • by russotto (537200)

        The Iron Dome is impressive but if Israel's ennemies start doing like North Korea and dig tunnels under the DMZ it will be useless.

        Ground penetrating radar is well within Israeli capabilities. I don't think they'll be digging any tunnels.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      Orders of magnitude problem.

      Seoul has about 3x as many people as israel in 1/4th the area (the Seoul capital area, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_urban_areas_by_population). Iron dome can afford to ignore a lot more rockets because a lot more of them aren't going to hit anything, and hamas is firing dozens of rockets at a time. North korea would be firing thousands, in a semi coordinated fashion and quite likely take steps to interfere with a similar system.

      It's not that a similar attempt would do n

    • It's C-RAM [wikipedia.org]. It's a tactical defense, not a strategic one.

  • by samjam (256347) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @08:48PM (#42062627) Homepage Journal

    That word: ballistic, I don't think it means what you think it means

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @08:51PM (#42062657) Homepage

    So some random 'journalists' have attempted to force an analogy and it doesn't work (ICBM defense is analogous to primitive short range surface-surface missiles). Woop de do. Iron Dome is much more closely related to the Patriot system [wikipedia.org] which was designed to hit smaller, slower targets than ICBMs.

    Not sure what the big deal is. Wake me up when they get the shark mounted lasers working.

  • "some"? (Score:3, Informative)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @08:51PM (#42062661) Homepage Journal

    Some have even gone so far to declare it a vindication of Ronald Reagen's 1980's Star Wars missile defense system.

    Some say that I'm the handsomest man in the world.

  • by Lehk228 (705449) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @08:52PM (#42062667) Journal
    Will it still work if the same rockets have an off balance twisted fin making them spiral? Will new tactics erase some of the advantages as fewer and larger salvos are launched? Will EW rockets get thrown in with the others to try to jam iron dome radar tracking? How well will it work against larger salvos with a bunch of really cheap cardboard and tinfoil rockets mixed in?
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      "Will it still work if the same rockets have an off balance twisted fin making them spiral?" No. It will not make them harder to track or make them much harder to hit. Iron Dome uses a fragmentation warhead like a SAM does so close counts.
      "Will new tactics erase some of the advantages as fewer and larger salvos are launched?" Maybe but it takes time to set up a lot of rockets for a barrage and that is likely to be seen by drones. If that happens then you just blow up the rockets while they are being set up.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:12PM (#42062839)

    Notice the one big story not covered by the network is the missile attack from Israel on Gaza so far killing 150+ people.

    You fund them with $2.5 billion a year, when the USA cannot afford that funding. They in turn need to be at constant war, even with the civilian population of Gaza, just to justify it.

    Their 'missile shield' protects them from retaliation fireworks, while they bomb the crap out of the population of Gaza and declare everyone hit to be a 'militant' or a 'terrorist', even the children, women, families, even the UN school they bombed the last time.

    Just stop funding them! Really, it's that simple, they'll stop killing people if they have to pay for their own constant warmongering.

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:15PM (#42062849)
    Regan's proposal had the potential to be the most expensive undertaking in human history. All for no clear enemy. Look at it this way it wouldn't stop 911 from happening or car bombs so we're talking an insanely expensive program with questionable benefit. Also the missile defense tests were really problematic. They tended to boast of the time they hit the target and ignored the ten times they missed.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I can't tell if you are trolling or just ridiculously young.

      We weren't worried about 9/11 or car bombings. We were worried about Soviet invasion or preemptive strikes. Our enemy then *was* clear, in contrast to today.

      Anyway, greetings from the other side of the fall of the Berlin wall.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      I don't think the SDI was ever intented to work. It was a massive bluff that forced the Soviet Union into a weapons race they couldn't afford. Ultimately, it was a major contributing factor in bankrupting the SU and ending the Cold War.

      • It was certainly intended to work, up until failures progressed to the point that even the Neocons pushing it had to admit that it can't work. (Especially against any enemy smart enough to employ simple countermeasures.)

        After that point, they switched to plan B and changed SDI into an elaborate Potemkin village, similar to the expensive and unworkable bomber defense systems that preceded it.

        • by AJWM (19027)

          smart enough to employ simple countermeasures.

          I always got a chuckle out of that. Because what are "simple countermeasures" on paper turn out to be "complex and expensive R & D programs" when you try to implement them on your thousand-plus ICBM inventory.

          My favorite was "just spin the booster" as a counter to laser interception. Now, consider that Soviet ICBM technology of the time relied on liquid-fueled boosters. Consider the dynamics problems of spinning a liquid-containing cylinder which is also

          • Congratulations! You've cast meager doubt on two items of your own choosing out of hundreds of possible countermeasures. This conclusively proves that a system that rarely worked even in rigged stunts would have been an impenetrable bastion of defense in the real world.

        • by sageres (561626)

          As a person who grew up in Soviet Union in the early 80s, I can tell you that Soviets were terrified of the SDI. They organized meetings, marches, huge media protests at home and abroad (read: the Soviet-funded peacenik camp in the US), and the huge neon signs in the Soviet cities that read, " !" (No to the program SDI). Regardless if it was a bluff or not, it was highly effective.

    • by mirix (1649853)

      It's real goal was to transfer money from the American people to military contractors.

      It would have been amazingly successful at doing that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:26PM (#42062923)

    One day, some strangers came and slapped a condo on it, cutting off my access to the beach.

    The people they setup in the place then began throwing rocks at my family.

    My family and I appealed to the authorities, but the largest and most powerful among them are staunch friends of the new people.

    There was absolutely no chance of any kind of peaceful negotiation, so it's been open hostility between us ever since.

    A few years ago they even invaded what remained of our property and threw most of us off it, then built another condo on it.

    We'd love to get our yard back, but it's been too long now.

    The grandchildren of the new people call the condo home, and feel the beach is rightfully theirs now.

    They won't consider the possibility of giving us even a narrow right-of-way to the sea.

    It's a most unfortunate situation, and I don't know how it's going to end.

  • Very soon, it will be curtains for Palestine.
  • Technology improves over time.

    Once there's a working prototype, it can be improved in thousands of ways that are less challenging to produce than the prototype itself.

    Right now, there are some challenges in making Iron Dome into SDI. However, there's also a working model which can be refined until it has SDI-ish capabilities.

    If you looked at a computer in the 1970s, you might think it could never simulate a human cell [technologyreview.com]. And yet, we're almost there.

  • by wrencherd (865833) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:29PM (#42063329)
    . McCain as "Iron Dome" when he writes about him in his diary at night.

    True story.
  • by AJWM (19027) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:30PM (#42063341) Homepage

    Now, maybe the guy meant intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), or even intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) -- the stuff Israel is shooting down seems shorter range -- but ballistic and unguided are essentially equivalent. You could have a non-ballistic unguided missile (an unguided cruise missile, say) but that's worse than useless (it could loop around and come back at you). But a ballistic missile -- once past the boost phase -- is, like something thrown by a trebuchet, guided only by gravity and air drag.

    And of course the further away it launches from, the more time you have to figure out what it's doing.

  • If the Israelis are emulating the American Manifest Destiny, they may be doing it the hard way.
    Wiping out the Muslim population from Turkey to Pakistan would more closely resemble the way it was done in the US.
    The question is raised, "can a military occupation defending itself, be defined as self defense?"
  • If anyone is interested, not all theater 'ballistic' missiles follow a simple ballistic path. The SS-26 Iskander fielded by Russia is able to maneuver to defeat. The US proposed placing anti-ballistic missile defences in Poland (so that Iran can't blackmail Europe once the Iranians finally attain a nuclear weapon, since Iranian missiles now reach Europe). The Russian response had Dmitri Medvedev in November 2008 issuing orders to deploy Iskander to Kaliningrad so they could be used in a first (nuclear) str

  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @12:16AM (#42063859)
    Some people here may not be old enough to remember all the propaganda about the Patriot anti-Missile system's effectiveness during the first Gulf War. The media/public were fed total lies. Patriot turned out not to be very effective at all. Given that Israeli officials are currently the only information source for Iron Dome's amazing 90% success rate, surely we should be highly sceptical. Instead all I have seen in the media are endless uncritical articles about how amazing Iron Dome is.
    • Given that Israeli officials are currently the only information source for Iron Dome's amazing 90% success rate, surely we should be highly sceptical.

      The Israelis have their own anti-ballistic missile missile, the Arrow [wikipedia.org], which has no doubt benefited from improvements in technology and years of refinements. It wouldn't surprise me if the Israelis now field a much better system than was possible in 1991, they're very clever and innovative when it comes to high technology.

    • by slashmojo (818930)

      Well rocket launches and subsequent interceptions are very public and half the worlds media were there watching it all happen right in front of them so the figures can't be too far off. In fact the IDF says today that overall the success rate was 84%

      Looks quite successful here anyway.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxwCYZ6Zhew [youtube.com]

  • So if the palestinians launch 100 missiles, 75 gets through. That doesn't spell successful or gamechanger in my book.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.

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