Israeli defense innovations make us safer
Regardless of how this current round of Israeli-Hamas fighting comes out, there’s one clear winner: the Israeli company called Rafael Advanced Systems, which makes the Iron Dome missile-defense system.
Iron Dome isn’t just saving Israeli lives; it may soon be saving American ones — along with other made-in-Israel technologies that are shifting the balance in the war with Islamist terror.
Indeed, Iron Dome is just one more example of why the survival of Israel is just as important to us as our support is for the survival of Israel. In terms of the coming high-tech war with terrorism, it may be more so.
One of the first of those technologies was actually unmanned drones, which Israel first pioneered back in the ’80s — in ways our armed forces started to copy more than a decade later.
But drones are struts and piano wire stuff compared to the sophisticated technologies of Iron Dome.
It’s an all-weather, highly mobile system with a range up to 43.5 miles. Each six-missile unit comes equipped with a battle-management computer system designed by another Israeli company, Mprest Systems, that can handle a sudden barrage of short-range rockets like the ones used by Hamas and Hezbollah.
In the current conflict, its success rate is 88 percent. In one attack on Sunday, Iron Dome shot down 15 missiles in a row— and thus far it’s kept Tel Aviv and Jerusalem free from carnage.
In many ways, Iron Dome’s technical success puts our defense industry to shame.
The system actually had its start during the first Gulf War, when our Patriot anti-missile batteries failed to protect Israel from Saddam Hussein’s Scuds. That convinced the Israelis they had to develop their own anti-missile technologies.
Theirs was a complex problem of how to create a series of protective umbrellas against the steady barrage of short-range rockets, mortar and 155mm artillery shells that various enemies have been flinging at Israel for years — as well as longer-range missiles like the Scud.
For the Pentagon, developing and deploying a major new weapons system like Iron Dome would take a decade. By contrast, the Israeli Defense Ministry gave Rafael the Iron Dome contract in 2007, and by March 2009 the system was fully ready for testing. The first true shoot-down test had to wait until July that year. More tests followed in 2010, and by March 2011 Iron Dome was declared operational — just two years after it was created.
But the story doesn’t end there.
To catch incoming missiles of a bigger variety, Israel Aerospace Industry makes the Arrow 2 — which, according to its developer Dov Raviv, has a 90 percent probability of knocking out a medium-range ballistic missile; it can even tell a warhead from a decoy.
Much of Arrow’s funding, like that of Iron Dome, originally came from Washington — but the engineering and production skill is Israeli. Meanwhile, our Missile Defense Agency is lucky when it gets a 60 percent probability of a missile shootdown. And its first successful test interception came in August 2005 — more than 10 years after Arrow 1 had done the same thing.The US is hampered by Democrats who opposed missile defense up until shortly after Obama's election and he has restricted development since then. He has embraced the drone technology.
The Israelis have also developed a robust cyber war defense capability that has been as effective as Iron Dome in resisting roughly 44 million attempts to bring down its computer networks.
In contrast the Muslim fanatics who are attacking them are at war with modernity which means there economy is based more on the charity of others than commerce they develop.