Missile defense for the
Aug. 20, 2008
JEFF DAUBE , THE
In particular, one human interest item caught my eye last December. A mother in Kibbutz Nir Am, which lies between
Since this near-tragedy occurred on the second day of Hanukka, she called this her family’s personal miracle of Hanukka.
I was so intrigued by the story that I decided to contact the mother to find out why we do not hear more about some of the communities in the Gaza periphery that get hit with rockets and mortars on a regular basis. She told me that the communities “only” have a few thousand residents in total and therefore do not seem to warrant coverage. But her community of Nir Am, alone, has absorbed more than 750 Kassam hits!
A FEW days later I made aliya and decided to take a number of trips to Sderot and its environs in my new position as director of the Zionist Organization of America’s
I opened a part-time ZOA office in the Gaza Periphery community of Netiv Ha’asara in the hopes of drawing more media and government attention to the plight of the
Without getting too technical (due to space considerations, I have omitted a host of Nautilus/SkyGuard advantages), Nautilus employs a high energy laser that focuses on the incoming projectile – whether it be a mortar, artillery shell, Kassam or Katyusha – and destroys it long before it reaches its target.
Nautilus has been successfully tested at White Sands,
The unfounded concerns regarding Nautilus – such as reload capacity and chemical toxicity – have been debunked beyond question. At a subsequent meeting in Tel Aviv, Yossi, Oded and an additional expert, Ofer Lavie, patiently explained to me why the new Northrop Grumman SkyGuard, an upgrade of the original Nautilus prototype, is the system of choice hands down. The most obvious reason is that it is fully developed (having cost 400 million
YET THE prototype is sitting in plastic in
Other systems currently under consideration are beset by schedule, cost and range problems. For example, the Iron Dome system, which uses missiles to shoot down rockets, won’t be ready until 2011 at the earliest and costs approximately $100,000 per threat destruction, as opposed to the $1,000-$2,000 of SkyGuard/Nautilus. This does not even take into account that Iron Dome’s threat destruction probability is less than SkyGuard’s, so it could take multiple shots to destroy one $500 Kassam. Add to that R&D, operational costs, current need for fortification and damages, and we end up with a system that is prohibitively expensive and does not even offer the same level of protection – not from Kassams fired in the typical four km. to six km. range; nor from mortars, which have already taken three lives; nor from artillery shells.
Similarly, the solid state laser system called LADS, as well as the Phalanx rapid fire systems, are short-range solutions that simply do not provide the coverage needed.
I AM no expert in anti-missile technology, but I do know that the first priority of any government is the safety and security of its citizens. We are not sure how long the current period of relative calm will last – perhaps as long as it takes Hamas to rearm and ready itself for the next round. Based on the latest intelligence reports, Hamas continues to smuggle and arm itself at a steady pace. Most Israeli residents in the area are resigned to the fact that it is not a question of “if” but “when” this calm will end.
From my comfortable
Not a single one of the experts I have spoken to can understand why the Defense Ministry is ignoring Northrop-Grumman’s formal January 2007 proposal to deploy Skyguard/Nautilus systems in the
I am calling upon the government to explain why we cannot, at the very least, take the one Nautilus system sitting in the
It only makes sense.
The writer, previously a pro-Israel advocate on Capitol Hill, is now the director of the Zionist Organization of