Artillery: October 28, 2000


The Israeli military has serious doubts that the US-built Tactical High Energy Laser can provide reliable protection against Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon and are not pressuring the government to deploy the system right away. The problem is that simultaneous engagement of several targets takes too long, and the Israelis believe that Hezbollah could launch 100 rockets at the same time. This would be more than the planned three lasers could deal with. Iran has recently provided Hezbollah with Katyusha rockets with a range of 100km, meaning that there are too many possible launch areas for lasers to be dedicated to cover a particular threat vector. Hezbollah now occupies 20 "combat bases" along the Israeli-Lebanese border, armed with mortars, rockets, and even tanks. Many of these weapons were abandoned by the South Lebanon Army, but Iran continues to fly in a planeload of weapons every week.--Stephen V Cole


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