Article Archive: Current 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
 Latest
 News
 
 Most
 Read
 
 Most
 Commented
 Hot
 Topics
Artillery: Rocket Stoppers Are Ready
   Next Article → PROCUREMENT: Priced Out Of The Market
April 14, 2009: Israel now expects to get its Iron Dome anti-rocket system working later this year. It uses two radars  to 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 in 2006, and Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired over six thousand Kassam rockets in the past eight years, and the Israelis know where each of them landed. Over 90 percent of these rockets landed in uninhabited areas. Still, a thousand interceptor missiles would cost $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. 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 in southern Israel.

The rocket attacks had been around since 2001, but got much worse once Israel pulled out of Gaza in August of 2005. This was a peace gesture that backfired. From 2001 to 2005, about 700 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel. Since the 2005 withdrawal, over 3,200 more rockets have been fired into Israel. The rate of firings increased after Hamas took control of Gaza in June, 2007. 

Hamas has been bringing in more factory made Iranian and Chinese made BM-21 and BM-12 rockets. Israeli intelligence officials believe Hamas currently has, in Gaza, several hundred factory made BM-21 rockets, each with a range of 20-40 kilometers. They also have some shorter range (six kilometers) B-12 rockets. These are not smuggled in much, because the locally made Kassam II has about the same range. However, the B-12 is more reliable (more reliable trajectory and fuze, so more are likely to land where aimed and explode.)

The B-12 is a 107mm, 42 pound, 107mm, 33 inch long, Russian designed rocket that is very popular with terrorists. This rocket has a range of about six kilometers and three pounds of explosives in its warhead. Normally fired, from a launcher, in salvoes of dozens at a time, when used individually, it is more accurate the closer it is to the target. This 107mm design has been copied by many nations, and is very popular with guerillas and terrorists because of its small size and portability. There is a Chinese BM-12 variant which has a smaller warhead and larger rocket motor. This version is supposed to have a range of about 12 kilometers.

The 122mm BM-21s weigh 150 pounds and are nine feet long. These have 45 pound warheads, but not much better accuracy than the 107mm model. However, these larger rockets have a maximum range of 20 kilometers. Again, because they are unguided, they are only effective if fired in salvos, or at large targets (like cities, or large military bases or industrial complexes.) There are Egyptian and Chinese variants that have smaller warheads and larger rocket motors, giving them a range of about 40 kilometers.

The rocket attacks from Gaza have been remarkably ineffective, killing only 37 people (half from rockets, the rest by mortars) in eight years. Hamas has had to fire about 270 rockets or mortar shells for each Israel soldier or civilian they have killed. Israeli counterfire killed or wounded a Palestinian for every three Palestinian rockets or mortar shells fired. One Israeli was killed or wounded for every 40 rockets or mortar shells fired. Israeli fire was much more accurate, with most of the Palestinian casualties being terrorists or others involved in building or firing the rockets and mortars. Hamas has tried to get civilians killed, by storing rockets in residential areas, and forming them from those neighborhoods as well. Although Hamas believes in the concept of "involuntary martyrdom" (getting civilians killed for the cause, even if the victims are not willing), many of its chosen candidates for it are not. So civilians stay away from areas where the rockets are launched, and try to conceal the fact that rockets are hidden under their homes.

Meanwhile, up north in Lebanon, Hezbollah have stockpiled over 40,000 factory made rockets, mainly BM-21s brought in from Iran via Syria. This is three times as many rockets as they had in the Summer of 2006, when over 4,000 rockets were fired into northern Israel, killing about fifty people, most of them civilians. Over a thousand Lebanese died from Israeli counterattacks. Hezbollah and Hamas plan to launch a joint rocket attack on Israel eventually. The Israelis have been planning more effective countermeasures, which they have not been discussing openly. There is also the option of installing Iron Dome in the north, but that has not been assured yet.

Next Article → PROCUREMENT: Priced Out Of The Market
  

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
Sty0pa       4/14/2009 10:13:21 AM
"Still, a thousand interceptor missiles would cost $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."
 
Is it?  Cheap, I mean?
 
Granted, this is a touchy question, but military science is reaching the point that medical science has been for a couple of decades: simply because you CAN, doesn't mean you SHOULD, and it is naive to disregard that this choice is frequently an economic one. 
 
Do we dispatch 4th ID and a carrier group to deal with a single kidnapped citizen, even if we're nearly certain that they may die if not?  No, of course not.  Would we do so even if hypothetically we *knew* that it would save that person's life?  More complicated question. 
 
What is the state's obligation to its citizens (and when considering that the $$ for funding ultimately comes from the taxpayers), what is the citizens' moral obligation to each other?   Your answer would depend on many things depending on your origin culture, politics, economic status, etc. but it cannot be disregarded that resources are finite and need (may be) infinite.
 
Is a civilian death worth $1 million?  $100,000?  How about an "injury"?   Hell, the 1980's SDI system was widely criticized by it's detractors as costing $500 billion for something that would only reach a reliability of around 25%...this equates to $2 trillion/300 million people or a puny $6700/citizen vs. nuclear ICBM attack.  That's too much according to the Left (if you assume that they weren't just being politically disingenuous....)?
 
Questions politicians can never answer, frankly, because IMO the US public (and frankly, not just the US public) is far too dimwitted and selfish generally to understand serious discussions of risk/reward that may actually mean that it makes sense to not do anything at all.  (One could tally the $ spent 'defending' against 'terror' for the last 8 years where "no defense at all" cost us 3000 citizens in a similar, uncomfortable calculus, no?)


 
Quote    Reply

RtWingCon    re:StyOpa   4/14/2009 6:24:16 PM
Enjoyed your assessment and it was dead on except for the last sentence. The Great (sarcasm) Pres Bill Clinton had opportunities to do something when the WTC was bombed the first time, but did nothing but prosecute those they caught. Didn't go after the whole lot of them hiding, training and killing elsewhere. So we end up with embassy bombings and hotel/compound bombings and still no response (1 cruise missle here or there doesn't count). Saudi Arabia offers up Bin Laden on silver platter to Big Bill, but he did the cost analysis and refused. I'm only guessing at the "cost analysis" part, however given that particular president's notoriety for avoiding hot potato issues, he probably didn't want to deal with the martyr/threats/responsibility of not screwing up a court case,etc. Maybe if Pres Slick had something other than a yellow streak, 3000+ dead may have been avoided and billions of real estate as well economic stability would have been saved. IMO we as a nation do need much tougher skin to make and accept hard choices as you mentioned earlier. Part of the cost analysis is to kick ass as we see fit, tell america to man up, and tell the world we won't tolerate their BS. Instead we do things half ass so as to not hurt feelings. This is over simplified i know, diplomacy,tact, etc. I think we're over tactful, too diplomatic. My rant is done,thanks.
 
Quote    Reply

Gerry       4/14/2009 10:23:27 PM

"Still, a thousand interceptor missiles would cost $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."

 

Is it?  Cheap, I mean?


 

Granted, this is a touchy question, but military science is reaching the point that medical science has been for a couple of decades: simply because you CAN, doesn't mean you SHOULD, and it is naive to disregard that this choice is frequently an economic one. 

 

Do we dispatch 4th ID and a carrier group to deal with a single kidnapped citizen, even if we're nearly certain that they may die if not?  No, of course not.  Would we do so even if hypothetically we *knew* that it would save that person's life?  More complicated question. 


 

What is the state's obligation to its citizens (and when considering that the $$ for funding ultimately comes from the taxpayers), what is the citizens' moral obligation to each other?   Your answer would depend on many things depending on your origin culture, politics, economic status, etc. but it cannot be disregarded that resources are finite and need (may be) infinite.

 

Is a civilian death worth $1 million?  $100,000?  How about an "injury"?   Hell, the 1980's SDI system was widely criticized by it's detractors as costing $500 billion for something that would only reach a reliability of around 25%...this equates to $2 trillion/300 million people or a puny $6700/citizen vs. nuclear ICBM attack.  That's too much according to the Left (if you assume that they weren't just being politically disingenuous....)?


 


Questions politicians can never answer, frankly, because IMO the US public (and frankly, not just the US public) is far too dimwitted and selfish generally to understand serious discussions of risk/reward that may actually mean that it makes sense to not do anything at all.  (One could tally the $ spent 'defending' against 'terror' for the last 8 years where "no defense at all" cost us 3000 citizens in a similar, uncomfortable calculus, no?)

So whats your solution?  Do nothing, because its not worth it?






 
Quote    Reply

FJV    A thousand interceptor missiles   4/15/2009 3:28:28 PM
If I'm not mistaken an interceptor missile only gets launced if the attacking missile is in danger of actually hitting something.This means that only 1 interceptor missile will be used for every 10? 100? missiles fired by the Palestinians.
 
 
 
 
Quote    Reply

arodrig6       4/15/2009 3:44:20 PM




Questions politicians can never answer, frankly, because IMO the US public (and frankly, not just the US public) is far too dimwitted and selfish generally to understand serious discussions of risk/reward that may actually mean that it makes sense to not do anything at all.  (One could tally the $ spent 'defending' against 'terror' for the last 8 years where "no defense at all" cost us 3000 citizens in a similar, uncomfortable calculus, no?)




So whats your solution?  Do nothing, because its not worth it?
















No, I think what he is suggesting is to perform realistic and honest cost/benefit analysis on taking or not taking actions. Sometimes this will mean doing nothing because its not worth it, sometimes this will mean taking action.
 
Quote    Reply