|By Shelly Palmer||
|July 27, 2014 03:01 AM EDT||
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.
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.
There are 66 million network cameras capturing terabytes of data. How did factories in Japan improve physical security at the facilities and improve employee productivity? Edge Computing reduces possible kilobytes of data collected per second to only a few kilobytes of data transmitted to the public cloud every day. Data is aggregated and analyzed close to sensors so only intelligent results need to be transmitted to the cloud. Non-essential data is recycled to optimize storage.
Feb. 24, 2017 08:15 AM EST Reads: 1,300
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great dea...
Feb. 24, 2017 08:15 AM EST Reads: 1,899
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Feb. 24, 2017 08:00 AM EST Reads: 7,548
Whether they’re located in a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment, cloud technologies are constantly evolving. While the innovation is exciting, the end mission of delivering business value and rapidly producing incremental product features is paramount. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Kiran Chitturi, CTO Architect at Sungard AS, discussed DevOps culture, its evolution of frameworks and technologies, and how it is achieving maturity. He also covered various styles and...
Feb. 24, 2017 08:00 AM EST Reads: 3,326
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Feb. 24, 2017 07:30 AM EST Reads: 1,853
In recent years, containers have taken the world by storm. Companies of all sizes and industries have realized the massive benefits of containers, such as unprecedented mobility, higher hardware utilization, and increased flexibility and agility; however, many containers today are non-persistent. Containers without persistence miss out on many benefits, and in many cases simply pass the responsibility of persistence onto other infrastructure, adding additional complexity.
Feb. 24, 2017 07:30 AM EST Reads: 431
Some people worry that OpenStack is more flash then substance; however, for many customers this could not be farther from the truth. No other technology equalizes the playing field between vendors while giving your internal teams better access than ever to infrastructure when they need it. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will talk through some real-world OpenStack deployments and look into the ways this can benefit customers of all sizes....
Feb. 24, 2017 07:00 AM EST Reads: 716
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his general session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore...
Feb. 24, 2017 06:45 AM EST Reads: 759
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin, ...
Feb. 24, 2017 06:45 AM EST Reads: 4,704
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of Soli...
Feb. 24, 2017 06:15 AM EST Reads: 880
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Feb. 24, 2017 06:15 AM EST Reads: 5,476
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
Feb. 24, 2017 06:00 AM EST Reads: 1,980
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Feb. 24, 2017 04:00 AM EST Reads: 3,823
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Feb. 24, 2017 03:00 AM EST Reads: 1,846
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Feb. 24, 2017 02:15 AM EST Reads: 13,224