The problem with Iron Dome
Reader comment on: Whither Israeli Short Range Missile Defense?
Submitted by Jerome Borden (United States), Jan 6, 2009 11:14
I had the honor of serving in Vietnam for about six years. During that time, one of the more irritating events was the arrival of barrage rockets such as the Katushas. They came in three forms which we identified by numbers, 107mm, 130mm, and 122.4mm. The first two were of Chinese origin and tended to have low energy shrapnel that could penetrate wood but only dent metal. The Soviet 122.4 was much more dangerous, the main charge was carried in the middle of the tube so it would detonate about four feet above the contact point, usually the ground, and the shrapnel was super hard with a velocity high enough to "cookie cutter" through the web of a girder. This is the longer range rocket that Hamas is now firing into Israel. If one of them falls into a building, the chances are that building will be severely damaged.
Now, here is the problem with Iron Dome: The propellent burn of the rocket is complete in less than five seconds and under one thousand feet from the launch point. After that, it is an inert body that can withstand a lot of damage and highly unlikely to detonate prematurely following a ballistic path to the target. Counter fire is another matter that can work to make life miserable and short for those launching the weapon. Hence the term "shoot and scoot" because the return fire can actually arrive before the launched rocket impacts its target.
Alas, the only real solution is to retake the territory and go back to the "old days". They had their chance and blew it.
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