Air Defense: Cheap Rockets Deceive Radars


November26, 2006: Israel is urgently trying to get their hands on an aid defense system that will knock down the home-made Kassam rockets Palestinians are firing from Gaza into southern Israel. So far, the biggest obstacle has been the poor construction quality of the Kassam rockets, and the resulting erratic flight path that misleads most radar systems designed to spot and predict the path of rockets and artillery shells. Professionally made projectiles are more accurate, and fly a more predictable path, which makes interception more likely. The two solutions the Israelis thought might work, a U.S. adaptation of their Phalanx naval 20mm autocannon (also available with 35mm cannon), or a laser weapon Israel has invested a lot of money in, both worked against conventional artillery, mortar and rocket projectiles, but have trouble with the erratic Kassams. Moreover, the laser weapon is degraded by dust and sand clouds, two common weather conditions in southern Israel.

As long as Israel cannot come up with an air-defense weapon to knock down the Kassam's they have to continue sending troops, and artillery fire, into Gaza to discourage the Kassam fire. This causes diplomatic problems, as the Europeans tend to be pro-Palestinian, and accuse the Israelis of war crimes for trying to take out the Palestinian Kassam launch crews.

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