The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Iron Dome Failure: Hillary Clinton was correct – the protective system has a saturation point

Of great strategic importance… an Israeli report on the Iron Dome system. It seems that Hillary was correct – and Nasrallah was correct in constantly quoting her landmark 2010 AIPAC speech.

“…Recent events have placed the Iron Dome system back on the public agenda. In a barrage that continued for several days following the terror attack in Eilat, over one hundred Grad and Qassam rockets – aimed at Beer Sheva, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Kiryat Gat, Gedera, Kiryat Malachi, and adjacent towns – landed in Israel.

Two recently deployed Iron Dome batteries, one in Beer Sheva and the other in Ashkelon, operated during this barrage and managed to intercept some eighteen rockets fired at the two cities. However, alongside this success – one that the heads of the defense establishment and security industries can rightly be proud of – there is also a feeling of disappointment, as some of the rockets caused damage to property and took a human toll, with one fatality in Beer Sheva and a number of injuries elsewhere.

…However, the “failure” in Beer Sheva is more than a technical problem or system immaturity, or a function of too few batteries or interceptors. Rather, the failure stems from the fact that there isn’t – and indeed cannot be – any system good enough to provide 100 percent protection. Specifically, a system such as Iron Dome has limitations in terms of the protection it can provide; there is also a limit to the area it can protect (its “footprint”). A statement such as “a battery is capable of protecting an area of 150 sq km” does not indicate the shape of that area (e.g., it is not necessarily a circle), nor does it say that there is equal protection extended to every spot within that area. The interception capability for any given point within the area depends on components such as the speed of the intercepted rockets, their altitude, and their particular flight trajectory. More importantly, the defensive capabilities are limited to the number of interceptions the system can undertake at any given moment. If more rockets are launched at the protected area than the battery can handle, some will necessarily penetrate. Technical improvements or improved training or drilling of the personnel manning the batteries may alter this fact, but they cannot change the principle: the protective system has a saturation point...”


Written by nickbiddlenoe

August 28, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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