Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

Israel’s Iron Dome

Iron Dome

The politics of the conflict between Hamas and the State of Israel are well documented, and I’m sure you have already formed an opinion about who is at fault and what must be done. This article is not about any of that. It’s not about right or wrong, good or bad, politics or religion … it’s about a remarkable technology that is serving both a strategic and tactical purpose in an untenable, unsustainable situation.

In Arthur C. Clarke’s famous essay, “Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination” he offers a “law” of prediction that posits, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” If our imaginations don’t fail us, we can predict a defense system “so advanced” that enemy fire cannot penetrate it. Think of common arrows vs. suits of armor, or bombs vs. concrete-reinforced underground bunkers. That is the strategic idea behind Israel’s Iron Dome technology – protect Israel’s citizens and property by destroying enemy missiles in the air. Can Iron Dome technology really do that?

A Brief History

Developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and first deployed by the Israeli Air Force in March 2011, the Iron Dome is a truck-towed mobile air defense system that counters short-range rockets and artillery shell threats. Able to work in any weather condition (including fog, dust, clouds and rain), the Iron Dome protects Israel’s northern and southern borders against rockets aimed at the country’s populated areas. Right now, it’s able to counter threats from about 40 miles away, but Israel wants to bump that up to about 160 miles – and also make it possible to take down missiles coming from two directions at once.

The Iron Dome was developed in the mid-2000s, after nearly 4,000 rockets landed in North Israel during the country’s second war with Lebanon in 2006. More than 4,000 additional rockets fired from Gaza landed in southern Israel between 2000 and 2007. After first coming up with the idea of an air defense system in February 2007, the first version was successfully tested in March 2009. In July 2010, the United States provided $205 million to help expand the effectiveness of the Iron Dome.

How it Works

The Iron Dome is built around three basic elements: radar, a missile firing unit and a battle management/weapon control system. After initially detecting a rocket launch, the Iron Dome monitors the rocket’s path, analyzes the threat and calculates the point of impact. If the rocket is headed for a congested area, the Iron Dome then launches an interceptor to try to detonate the threat over a neutral area.

How the Iron Dome Works

The Iron Dome is made up of “batteries,” which are trucks featuring radar and three launchers. By the end of 2012, Israel had five batteries. In September 2013, the country added a sixth. There are currently eight batteries protecting the country, but weapons scientist Richard Lloyd recently pointed to this number as one of the system’s major flaws – there just aren’t enough batteries to protect all of Israel.

The Iron Dome’s Shortcomings

It’s also unclear just how effective the Iron Dome actually is. In December 2011, The Jerusalem Post said the Iron Dome was successful in downing rockets from Gaza 75 percent of the time. Later, the Jerusalem Post reported that the system had improved to become 90 percent effective.

But then, in November 2012, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tweeted that it had stopped 302 of the 846 rockets fired from Gaza; this figure far lower than 50 percent, but still effective in keeping out hundreds of missiles. This month, however, the IDF said it had intercepted just 27 percent of the 180 rockets fired at Israel from July 7-9.

Then again, those numbers may not necessarily be accurate. Bloomberg reports that Lloyd and “a handful of other outside experts, including Theodore Postol of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have been challenging the IDF’s assertions on Iron Dome’s success rate since at least 2012.” Even if the Iron Dome “intercepts” the missile, Lloyd says it may not manage to detonate its warhead in mid-air, meaning it’ll still cause major damage once it lands.

Other Forms of Missile Defense

While the Iron Dome has plenty of room for improvement, Israel has other systems in place to protect its citizens from rocket strikes. The country has a tremendous early-warning system to alert its citizens to incoming missile strikes, and it’s also constructed a network of shelters for its citizens to take cover in. These factors are major reasons why so few Israelis have died from missile strikes (at least, in comparison to the number of rockets Hamas has fired).

It’s this warning system and network of shelters that are saving most Israelis’ lives, according to Theodore Postol, a professor of science technology and national security policy at MIT. Postol estimates the Iron Dome’s success rate is less than 5 percent – far lower than just about every other estimate.

The Iron Dome’s true success rate probably lies somewhere between Postol’s 5 percent estimate and the IDF’s 90 percent figure – but at the time of this writing, statistics are fluid.

Technology, Strategy and Tactics

Today, Hamas is firing relatively unsophisticated short-range missiles at Israel. The strategy is to intercept them in the air. The tactics are to deploy eight mobile defensive Iron Dome batteries along the front and keep the enemy guessing as to their locations while neutralizing as many incoming missiles as possible. In practice, this will work until Hamas obtains more sophisticated weaponry.

One day, a more advanced version of Iron Dome technology may be capable of destroying every single incoming missile. While that day cannot come soon enough, it is sufficiently far enough in the future for us to need a quick, peaceful resolution. For everyone’s sake, I hope that peace finds a way.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

Latest Stories
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
With over 720 million Internet users and 40–50% CAGR, the Chinese Cloud Computing market has been booming. When talking about cloud computing, what are the Chinese users of cloud thinking about? What is the most powerful force that can push them to make the buying decision? How to tap into them? In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yu Hao, CEO and co-founder of SpeedyCloud, answered these questions and discussed the results of SpeedyCloud’s survey.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, cutting-edge enterprise web applications for desktop and mobile. SmartClient combines the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simp...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Actian Corporation has announced the latest version of the Actian Vector in Hadoop (VectorH) database, generally available at the end of July. VectorH is based on the same query engine that powers Actian Vector, which recently doubled the TPC-H benchmark record for non-clustered systems at the 3000GB scale factor (see tpc.org/3323). The ability to easily ingest information from different data sources and rapidly develop queries to make better business decisions is becoming increasingly importan...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Kubernetes, Docker and containers are changing the world, and how companies are deploying their software and running their infrastructure. With the shift in how applications are built and deployed, new challenges must be solved. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, will discuss the implications of containerized applications/infrastructures and their impact on the enterprise. In a real world example based on Kubernetes, he will show how to ...
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build their business on public cloud were challenged to run Big Data processing and analytics at scale. But recent advancements in Hadoop performance, security, and most importantly cloud-native integrations, are giving organizations the ability to truly gain value from all their data. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, David Tishgart, Director of Product Marketing ...
As the world moves toward more DevOps and Microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The Microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. Serverless computing is revolutionizing computing. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Raghav...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Aspose.Total for .NET is the most complete package of all file format APIs for .NET as offered by Aspose. It empowers developers to create, edit, render, print and convert between a wide range of popular document formats within any .NET, C#, ASP.NET and VB.NET applications. Aspose compiles all .NET APIs on a daily basis to ensure that it contains the most up to date versions of each of Aspose .NET APIs. If a new .NET API or a new version of existing APIs is released during the subscription peri...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...