Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Israel’s “Iron Dome” changes the course of the conflict

Time Magazine: A Missile Shield that Works;

Military gear-heads like to boast about how this or that latest technology that they’re fond of – or that their company, or country, is pushing – is a “game-changer.”

The major-combat debut of Israel‘s Iron Dome missile-defense shield over the past several days may be one of the few that can legitimately make that claim.

It is destroying about 90% of the rockets and missiles that Hamas, the Palestinian political party governing Gaza, is firing into southern Israel, Israeli officials say.

One battery of Iron Dome anti-missile missiles downed 100% during a salvo, a senior Israeli official tells Battleland.

“We’ve got about a 90% success rate,” he says, ... “This is unprecedented in history.” It’s also impossible to confirm, but the lack of Israeli casualties suggests Iron Dome is the most-effective, most-tested missile shield the world has ever seen.

“We keep tweaking it,” says the senior official, who declined to be identified. “In one of the recent exchanges, one of the batteries was 100% [successful]. That means, to me, that Iron Dome is capable of 100% [across the board] — I don’t think it was entirely a fluke.”

The Wall Street Journal noted in an editorial this morning:

The engineering achievement has saved countless lives, but the strategic benefits are also significant. By limiting civilian casualties, missile defenses provide more options and more time for military and political leaders to decide how to respond. If missiles were landing willy-nilly in Israeli cities, the pressure would be great either for a ground incursion into Gaza, or a possibly humiliating accommodation with Hamas.

So far, Hamas has launched about 1000 missiles at Israel. In a recent skirmish, such missile launches have killed thousands of Israeli citizens. By giving Israeli leaders more time to respond to the barrage, this missile defense system is indeed changing the course of the conflict.

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