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threat. This will begin with the basic homemade
Kassam rockets used by the Hamas in the Gaza
strip. These simple rockets have caused damage
and killed people in Southern Israel in the many
rounds of fighting in that area. But now Hamas
has beefed up its capabilities with shipments of
122 mm "Grad" rockets that have reached the
area through the hundreds of tunnels that were
dug under the Gaza -- Egypt border line.
Turning to the north, the rocket arsenal of the
Hizbulah in Lebanon is bigger. These range from
the 122mm "Grad" through "Fatah 110" up to
"Zilzal" rockets -- the latter having a diameter of
600mm and a massive 400kg warhead.
The third arsenal on the Israeli border is the
rockets and Scud B/C/D missiles that are part
of the Syrian army's arsenal. According to Israeli
intelligence some of these missiles are fitted with
But the major threat is from Iran. This country
has a big arsenal of long-range missiles. While
some reports in the Iranian press about new
versions of existing missiles are considered false,
nevertheless the experts say that this country
has the ability to launch a massive ballistic missile
attack on Israel.
The Shihab-3 was the first intermediate range
ballistic missile that was built by Iran's military. Its
first version has a range of 1300 km. Soon after
Iran came with a new model called Shihab 3B,
which has a range of 2000 km.
Another ballistic missile in the Iranian arsenal is
the Ghadr-110: a medium-range ballistic missile
designed and developed domestically. The
missile has a range of 1,800 to 2,000 km. It has
a liquid-fuel first stage and a solid-fuel second
stage, accounting for its substantial range. It has
a higher maneuverability than the Shihab-3 and a
set-up time of 30 minutes, which is considerably
shorter than that of the Shihab-3.
In late 2007, the Iranian Defence Ministry
announced that the local missile industry has
developed a new missile, also with a range of
2000 km. This one was dubbed the Ashura.
Some experts say that this missile represents a
major breakthrough in Iranian missile technology.
It is the first two-stage missile using solid fueled
rocket motors instead of the existing liquid fueled
technology used on the Shihab.
This new two-stage solid-fuel missile has a
range of nearly 2,500 km was tested for the
first time on 12 November 2008. An improved
version, the Sajil-2, was tested on 20 May
2009. Improvements include a better navigation
system, better targeting system, more payload,
longer range, faster lift-off, longer storage time,
quicker launch and lower detection possibilities.
Yet another long range ballistic missile is
designated the Sajil. The Iranians claim that it has
a 2500 km range.
Israeli experts say that the Iranians sometimes
use different names for the same missile, but
they agree that with foreign help mostly from
North Korea, the Iranians have "made a big leap
So the three tiered Israeli defense system -- or
four tiered if strikes on launch sites are included -
will have to cope with multiple threats.
To deal with this, four "Iron Dome" batteries are
already operational. The aim is to find the budget
for another six. Earlier this year the US granted
Israel $205 million for another four batteries, so
the goal is on the way to being achieved.
Rafael developed the "Iron Dome" in less than
three years. It is designed to cope with rockets
that have a 40 km range. By the end of the
year "Iron Dome" will be upgraded with a new
millimetric radar developed by Elta, which is an
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) subsidiary.
Another local company Rafael has teamed
with US giant Raytheon and they are developing
the "David Sling" interceptor that is designed to
handle longer range rockets and "other aerial
threats". The "Stunner" missile of the "David
Sling" system will be very agile with a special
motor that will be ignited three times during the
flight to the target.
But the Arrow-3 is without any doubt the most
advanced interceptor being developed by Israel.
The name is misleading, as this interceptor is
totally different from the operational Arrow-2.
While the Arrow-2 has a proximity fuse that
detonates the warhead, the Arrow-3 is designed
a "hit to kill" interceptor. A kill vehicle is ejected
from the main missile and maneuvers itself
until it achieves a kinetic kill of the incoming
enemy missile. In addition the Arrow-3 will make
intercepts outside the atmosphere. It will be
much lighter then the Arrow -2 and will have
super maneuverability. The "End Game" - when
the kill vehicle will go for the final impact - will not
be dependant of any sensors on the ground.
Sources say that the Arrow-3 will be
operational in 2013. As with all the other tiers,
after it is deployed a never-ending upgrade
process will begin.
Uzi Rubin, who served as the first Director of
the Israel Missile Defense Organization in the
Israeli Ministry of Defense, says that the Arrow-3
with its very high exo-atmospheric interception
altitudes, coupled with the improved detection,
discrimination and fire control, is designed to
permit observed fire ("Shoot -- look -- shoot") -
thus providing at least two and possibly three
chances to kill each incoming missile. The
new architecture will thus assure a very high
probability of kill against any suspected nuclear
missile, as well as being capable of handling
larger salvoes of longer range ballistic missiles
equipped with countermeasures.
An American TPY-2 X Band radar deployed
permanently in southern Israel will perform
the detection, according to Rubin. This will be
supplemented by an advanced version of the
"Green Pine" detection and fire control radar that
is part of the Arrow-3 system.
Rubin said that Israel is building a veritable
multi-faceted homeland missile shield against
almost every kind of ballistic threat, with the
added capability against cruise missiles thrown
in. "Apart from the indigenous Merkava tank,
there is no other single domestic program in the
Israeli defense industry that equals the overall
level of this effort ", he said.
He emphasized that this did not come about
by any particular foresight and neither is it
executed according to some overall master
plan, but by the force of circumstances and
has occurred piecemeal. " As a rule, each step
was accompanied by an acrimonious quarrel
between the military and political echelons in
Israel's defense establishment -- except perhaps
the enhanced Arrow program that sprouted
under the terrifying shadow of Iran's prospective
The Arrow-2 and -3 will be the upper layer of a system that is designed
to defend Israel from all rockets and missiles.
Rubin said that Israel is building a veritable multi-faceted homeland
missile shield against almost every kind of ballistic threat, with the added
capability against cruise missiles thrown in.
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