Tel Aviv, Israel (UPI) Apr 29, 2011
Amid Israeli concerns of a new war with Hezbollah and other foes, there are doubts the anti-missile systems Israel's defense industry has produced or is developing will be adequate to defend the nation against sustained missile and rocket attack.
One of the country's leading missile-defense experts, Nathan Farber, says that the cost of developing, deploying and operating these systems is prohibitive.
He also said that it will take years to provide enough anti-missile batteries to cover the country, time that Israel may not have as things stand in the region.
"This is a plan based on fantasy that has no practical justification," said Farber, a former ballistic missile specialist at Israel Military Industries and now a lecturer at the aerodynamics faculty of the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
He urged the government to buy U.S. laser weapons, such as the Skyguard system built by Northrop Grumman, or a variant of the U.S. Vulcan-Phalanx rapid-fire gun system. That has been proven in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After lengthy deliberation, Defense Minister Ehud Barak decided in April 2009 to acquire Vulcan-Phalanx but the plan was dropped, apparently for political reasons, to rely on Israeli systems.
Farber argued that the U.S. systems would greatly extend the capabilities of Israel's anti-missile defenses to most of the country within 18 months of signing a contract, instead of 2-3 years if the military depends on indigenous weapons.
The Vulcan-Phalanx is a close-in weapons system initially designed by the General Dynamics Corp, now part of the Raytheon Corp., for the U.S. Navy to shoot down anti-ship missiles.
The land-based variant is known a the Centurion C-RAM, a radar-guided 20mm M61A1 Gatling Gun with a firing rate of 4,500 rounds per minute.
It costs $25 million per unit. Each battery of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system developed and built by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems now being deployed costs $80 million.
A parliamentary committee headed by former Defense Minister Amir Peretz says Israel needs at least 13 Iron Dome batteries to defend population centers in the north on the Lebanese border and in the south facing the Hamas-held Gaza Strip.
Israel has deployed two batteries and four more are scheduled to be built with $205 million in special U.S. aid.
But using indigenous systems is expected to cost Israel several billion dollars at a time when the defense budget is strained to the limit.
As it is, the cost of operating Iron Dome, which fired interceptor missiles at the short-range rockets used by Lebanon's Hezbollah and Hamas' Palestinian militants, is prohibitive.
Every Iron Dome interceptor costs around $50,000 while the projectiles it shoots down cost a fraction of that. Critics argue that Israel's foes could bankrupt the country by firing huge numbers of these low-cost rockets.
That's something of an exaggeration. Iron Dome's computer is capable of determining from the trajectory of an incoming rocket whether it is going to hit a populated area and the system could ignore those that aren't.
In Iron Dome's limited debut in southern Israel in March it shot down nine missiles heading toward the cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon but hasn't been fully tested in protecting towns closer to the border, where the rockets' flight time is much shorter, or against mortar rounds. The C-RAM downed mortar shells in Iraq.
Farber noted that in Israel's 34-day war against Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, the Iranian-backed guerrillas fired some 1,000 short-range Katyusha-type rockets at Kiryat Shmona a few miles from the northern border.
That was about one-quarter of the barrage of rockets Hezbollah unleashed against northern Israel during the conflict, against which the Israelis had no defense.
"Five hundred hit targets," Farber observed. "According to the scenario for the next war, Kiryat Shmona can expect 4,000 rockets. An Iron Dome battery would be able to deal with just a small fraction of them."
That sort of battering would take place in other northern cities and towns, including the port of Haifa, which was hit during the 2006 war.
In 2006, Hezbollah possessed an estimated 12,000 rockets, mostly short-range weapons.
These days, Israel estimates Hezbollah has more than 42,000. These include hundreds of long-range missiles that can hit anywhere in the Jewish state in a sustained bombardment of unprecedented proportions.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Learn about missile defense at SpaceWar.com
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
All about missiles at SpaceWar.com
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com
Russia to build aerospace defence shield
Moscow, Russia (VOR) Apr 28, 2011
Russia will build a national aerospace defense shield by the end of 2011, Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Viktor Ozerov told reporters on Tuesday in the cosmonauts' training center near Moscow. He believes that a combined aerospace defense force will cooperate more effectively with NATO's European anti-missile defense system. Last year, President Medved ... read more
Israel urged to buy U.S. rocket defenses|
Romania airbase to host US missile shield
Russia demands defence safeguards from US
Russia to build aerospace defence shield
Milestone Achieved with Test of JAGM's Single Rocket Motor Solution
Boeing Receives JDAM Contracts Valued at 100 million dollars
Indonesia tests Yakhont missile, finally
Raytheon Delivers First Standard Missile-6 To US Navy
Boeing Phantom Ray Completes First Flight
Australian Herons Achieve Record Flying Hours
First Flight of Heavy-Fuel Powered Fury 1500 UAS
US drone attack kills six militants in Pakistan
LockMart Battle Command System Replaces US Army Legacy System
Emirates lofts satellite to boost military
Lockheed Martin Demonstrates Integration of MONAX Communications System with Air Force Base Network
Preparations Underway As US Army Gears Up For Large-Scale Network Evaluations
Researchers create terahertz invisibility cloak
Successful Test Deployment of New Zodiac Marine Evacuation System
Northrop Grumman Delivers 1000th Guardian Laser Transmitter Assembly
Shielding body protects brain from shell shocking blast injuries
Gulf air force deals 'to hit $63 billion'
Russia aims for $9.5 billion arms sales
All-women army unit lures 'red' tourists in China
India rejects Russia's fighter jet bid: official
Celebrations a mark of confidence
Australian FM: Bring China into system
It's a bird, a plane -- it's Superman's citizenship!
China to foster cooperation with ASEAN
MLD Test Moves Navy A Step Closer To Lasers For Ship Self-Defense
US Navy And Northrop Grumman Accomplish Goals For At-Sea Demonstration Of Maritime Laser
Scientists Build World's First Anti-Laser
Yale scientists build 'anti-laser'
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|