Air Defense: Israel Outsmarts Dumb Rockets



August 13, 2007: Israel is going ahead with installing the Iron Dome anti-rocket system. This is a defensive system with a unique twist. Iron Dome radars (there are two of them) quickly calculate the trajectory of the incoming rocket (Palestinian Kassams from Gaza, or Russian and Iranian designs favored by Hizbollah in Lebanon) and do nothing if the rocket trajectory indicates it is going to land in an uninhabited area. But if the computers predict a rocket coming down in an inhabited area, a $40,000 guided missile is fired to intercept the rocket. This makes the system cost-effective. That's because Hizbollah fired 4,000 rockets last year, and Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired over six thousand Kassam rockets in the past six years. But over 90 percent of these rockets landed in uninhabited areas. Still, 1,000 interceptor missiles costs $40 million. But that would save over a hundred lives, and hundreds of injuries. A cheap price to pay, especially if you are one of the victims, or potential victims. Iron Dome is supposed to go into service in about 18 months, at a cost of some $300 million. Israel already has a radar system in place that gives some warning of approaching rockets. Iron Dome will use that system, in addition to another, more specialized radar.

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