Update on missile defense

Stratfor:

Iron Dome was designed to defend against short-range rockets and uses Tamir interceptor missiles, which house warheads that explode in proximity to inbound rockets. Iron Dome is well suited for dealing with rockets fired from the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, and with shorter-range rockets fired from Lebanon, but it is ill equipped to deal with longer-range rockets — its modest success at defending against the Fajr-5 rockets notwithstanding…

David’s Sling is capable of intercepting artillery rockets with ranges of 70 to 300 kilometers (approximately 45 to 185 miles). Developed jointly by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the United States’ Raytheon, the system uses two-stage Stunner interceptor missiles that, unlike the Tamirs, hit inbound rockets directly and destroy them with sheer kinetic impact. The Stunner is also larger than the Tamir, and with its more sophisticated guidance and propulsion systems it can travel farther. David’s Sling eventually will be able to intercept unmanned aerial vehicles, short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles…

Hezbollah, the Shiite militia in Lebanon,…has far more and far better rockets than do Palestinian militants in Gaza. Hezbollah’s inventory is thought to hold 100,000 rockets, ranging from 122mm BM-21 type rockets to the much larger and longer-ranged 610mm Zelzal-2 rockets. According to unconfirmed reports, the group may have even acquired Scud missiles from Syria…

Hezbollah has enough rockets to overwhelm Iron Dome defenses (Israel would need to deploy 10-15 batteries for full coverage). Before reloading, each Iron Dome battery holds a maximum of 60 Tamirs, which are often fired in waves to ensure interception. Even if Iron Dome’s purported 84 percent success rate were maintained, there would not be enough interceptors available to stop all short-range rockets from Lebanon.

We’ll be hearing more about these things, and probably pretty soon, since the terms of the “ceasefire” do not appear to have been clearly agreed upon.

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