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The Military Technology

Why Iron Dome Might Only Work For Israel 377

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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  • american financed? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:46PM (#42062609)

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


  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:51PM (#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 @09:51PM (#42062661) 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.

  • Misleading summary (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @09:51PM (#42062663)

    The summary seems to imply that Hamas is launching home-made rockets. Not so. Take a look at http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-F02XpjfWjRA/UK0fVU618XI/AAAAAAAAjDI/HKrb4SO6eXw/s1600/Hamas+Missiles_JPost.jpg

    Secondly, Iron Dome isn't meant to be the end-all of missile defense. Israel has deployed a three-level missile defense.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Dome for short-range missiles
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David%27s_Sling for medium-range missiles
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow_(Israeli_missile) for long-range missiles

    The Arrow system intercepts ballistic missiles.

  • by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <jwsmythe@jws[ ]he.com ['myt' in gap]> on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:05PM (#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 Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:15PM (#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:one other place (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:35PM (#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.

  • by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <jwsmythe@jws[ ]he.com ['myt' in gap]> on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:38PM (#42063007) Homepage Journal

    Come on, be more informative than that..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qassam_rocket [wikipedia.org]

        The majority of the rockets *are* home made. They have the budget of militant groups, not of a national military.

        Sure, they're dangerous if one lands on you, or near enough for the payload to hurt you.

        There have been actual military missiles used. They are the minority. I had found the count of missile types launched in the last 10 years, but I can't seem to find it now.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @10:41PM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:41PM (#42063391)

    you cannot declare self defense if you are the occupier. That's fuckin sick man takes a real twisted sense of logic to call an occupied people terrorists.

  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Wednesday November 21, 2012 @11:55PM (#42063485)

    The distinction in terminology these days between rocket and missile is that a rocket is unguided and a missile is guided.

    Ballistic missiles are guided for the powered part of flight (which is short, but still a phase). Rockets are aimed and shot. One could envision a cell phone guided rocket or something, but that's more effort than it's worth for hamas. You have to know what you're planning to shoot at, and where it is, have somewhere to calibrate your weapons etc. The value of these rockets is the terror effect because they can land anywhere, and they cost nothing to make so you can fire a lot of them, and if they miss or get shot down it's no big loss.

    Also, extremely short range rockets have the advantage that even with air raid sirens people don't have time to get anywhere particularly safe.

    Hamas also have russian, chinses and or iranian designed truck/shoulder launched rockets, those are what are hitting places like tel aviv. They're relatively sophisticated, relatively expensive, and smuggled in from Iran via sudan -> Egypt, or built in Gaza as kinds shitty versions of the originals. These are the Fajr -5 (chinese-Iranian origin, can hit Tel Aviv), and "Grad Rockets" which are russian and might make 40Km on a good day.

  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @12:40AM (#42063715)

    The Palestinian conflict started when the Allies took what was then Palestine and gave a large chunk to the Jews to create Israel. The Israelis then expanded and took over the rest of Palestine (and have displaced 1000s of Palestinians from their homes to create homes for Israelis) and the 2 sides have been fighting ever since.

    The mess in Iran started when the democratically elected government of Iran decided to kick out the British Anglo-Persian Oil Company (one of the predecessors of what is now British Petroleum) and take over the Iranian oil reserves). The British and Americans didn't like this and proceeded to overthrow the government and replace it with a government controlled by the British. This then lead to the Iranian Revolution and the current anti-western fundamentalist islamic dictatorship we have today.

    The first mess in Iraq started because the west decided to aid Saddam in his fight with Iran (except that after the war with Iran was over, he proceeded to use those same weapons against Kuwait)

    The current mess in Iraq started because the west decided to invade so they could overthrow Saddam and in so doing have created another state for islamic extremists to use as a base of operations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @01:29AM (#42063923)

    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?

    Interesting question. After looking for answers, I think the solution you propose is incomplete and would run contrary to the palestinian interest in at least two points [wikipedia.org], with the settlements in the West Bank probably being the most painful.

    The United Nations and the European Union have also called the settlements "illegal under international law."

    Of course, sending rockets is not a solution. But Hamas (as a political faction - at least for Palestinians) needs to show/display/stick to a position to have some popular support...
    Does it make rational sense? Not at all. Does everything in politics need to make rational sense? Negative again.
    You know, nothing too different from the "legitimate rape" aspect in the US political life.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2012 @01:34AM (#42063937)

    they are not occupied people you moron. go study some history

    O'Really? [wikipedia.org]

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

    by Mathinker ( 909784 ) on Thursday November 22, 2012 @01:50AM (#42063989) Journal

    > 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.

  • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki.gmail@com> on Thursday November 22, 2012 @03:26AM (#42064323) Homepage

    even the UN school they bombed the last time.

    Yeah, and Israel provided a video. You might remember those "secondary explosions" showing that Hamas had been using it for an ammo dump. You know, in violation of international law, which various people love to scream about in regards to Israel but never about the Palestinians.

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