There is no doubt. The problem Israel is facing may seem “local” to many observers but fact is it is far from the truth. The problem is common to many countries, although some prefer, for the present, looking the other way.
The problem is simple to define, not that easy to solve – many terror organizations have come to the very straight forward and logical conclusion that rockets (some of them “homemade”) and missiles of various types, can paralyze a country and put its armed forces in a very tough position.
Israel has become a “master laboratory” to many combat scenarios that later were “exported” to other parts of the world. That happened with improvised explosive devices (IED’S) that were widely used when Israel controlled south Lebanon and now with the wide array of rockets that are available on the international weapons markets or can be built in the backyard.
The rockets that were fired from south Lebanon and the Gaza strip caused a relatively low number of casualties but that might not be the outcome in the future. To be ready for future assaults with rockets, with greater range, much destructive warheads and for long range ballistic missiles – Israel has decided on building a three layered defense system.
Israel stepped up its efforts to gain a fully operational three tier defense system against rockets and missiles. With assistance from the US – RAFAEL, one of Israel’s major defense industries in cooperation with Raytheon, is developing “David’s Sling” Weapon System.
“David’s Sling” Weapon System is developed in order to defend the Israeli populated areas against medium range rockets.
Rafael has developed the “Iron Dome” system for intercepting short range rockets. This system was used in the recent “Pillar of defense” operation in Gaza and proved very high interception capabilities.
The third layer is composed of the Israel aerospace industries (IAI) “Arrow-2” fully operational system for intercepting long range ballistic missiles and will be reinforced by the Arrow-3, currently under development. While the three layered defense systems are being built, many are raising doubts about the logic behind their inception.
These people, placed in some key positions in the Israeli defense establishment, say that the three layered defense system “does not make sense”. They say that in attrition war between homemade rockets and even series production rockets that are very cheap on the market the winner is obvious. They claim that the “passive defense” approach that is behind the idea of the three layered system is twisted.
At this point the voices of the critics are faint and it seems that the government is continuing with its efforts to have the operational three layered defense system in place as soon as possible. But the reality in the Middle East may change very fast, and the key is as always in the hand of the politicians.
While there is no sign that someone in key positions really thinks of an alternative that will not involve the never ending development of “Arrow-4”, “David’s Sling 2” and “Iron dome advanced” , some voices show signs that in the future the trend might change in some degree.
The ongoing effort to complete the three layered defense system is huge. But for the first time voices are heard that Israel with its very advanced air force should think of ways to put a fast end to any attempt to paralyze the country with salvos of rockets and missiles.
The critics say that the threat of rockets in the hands of non-governmental organizations should also point to a solution based of offensive means a country possesses, and not on building an invisible protective-bubble above it. They immediately add that the proliferation of the easy accessed rockets and missiles makes the problem one that may be faced by other countries and therefore the solution should be offensive: “the world should not go into a never ending race between the ballistic threats and the ways to counter them. This is what strong air-forces and other forces are for. The change should be in the heads of the politicians that run the countries” one of the more strong Israeli critics said recently.