Israel has begun testing it’s new “Iron Dome” missile defense system, this was selected instead of the joint US-Israel Nautilus system which was mothballed after doubts arose. Carl at Israel Matzav has his doubts as well about Iron Dome, preferring an active offense to passive defense.
I’m in favor of both because it never hurts to extend missile defense technology. The problem of short, low trajectory Katushya and Kassam missiles is horrible for the people of Sderot, but also an ever-present challenge to all military forces. Short range missile and mortar snapshots are one of the most common terror threats wherever terrorists are actively engaged (Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Pakistan.) As the War on Terror winds down these types of attacks will become the most common, where the terrorists do what’s known as a “shoot and scoot”.
The challenge is to extend not only missile defense, but also automated counterbattery fire well beyond the abilities it has now. Defense + Counterbattery also addresses Carl’s highly valid point that an active defense or shield does nothing to take out terrorists.
Our targetting capabilities have extended greatly the past two decades, couple that with sensor technology and you have a potential formula for stopping one of our most frequent terror threats. Whether terrorists are firing at the green zone in Baghdad or from Gaza at Sderot we need to be able to put metal on target within single-digit seconds of fire as well as take out the incoming missile or mortar.
This of course also beggars the question as to whether Iron Dome plus Nautilus plus automated counterbattery in combination isn’t the answer to 100 percent defense effect plus the ability to take out the attackers.