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ONE THOUSAND BALLISTIC MISSILES

Uzi Rubin: ‘Iran & Arab Countries Now Have Some 1,000 Ballistic Missiles That Can Hit Israel’

Yair Ramati: ‘Israel's Arrow Anti - Missile System Can Cope With This Threat’

Should Israel Reassess Its Strategic Dependence On Tactical Air Strikes By Aircraft?

Israel's Arrow

Uzi Rubin, a leading Israeli missile expert, warns that Iran and the Arab states now have an arsenal of about 1,000 ballistic missiles that can target Israel. Rubin, a founder of Israel's counter missile project known as 'Homah', was addressing an open session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Affairs & Defense Committee which discussed the missile threats now facing Israel. Yair Ramati the Arrow Project Director at Israel Aircraft Industries told the committee that the Arrow is capable of coping with a ballistic missile attack on Israel. But why has Israel yet to find an answer to the primitive Qassam rockets that Palestinians in Gaza Strip launch daily at Israeli settlements and communities inside Israel?

Some 1,000 ballistic missiles now threaten Israel from Iran and the Arab countries, but Israel's Arrow anti-missile system provides an adequate defense. That was the message from top Israeli experts who briefed an unprecedented Knesset committee hearing on the missile threat. Uzi Rubin, a driving force behind the Arrow project of more than a decade ago, said an enemy ballistic raid of 1,000 ballistic missiles would deliver a payload of 500 tons of explosives. He warned that Iran has already gone operational with the Shihab-3 rocket that is capable of targeting Israel and is now developing a longer range model with a range of 2,000 kilometers; it is obviously being designed to reach targets in Europe rather than posing an additional threat to Israel. Syria is spending a 'fortune' on buying missiles which it views as its most meaningful military option against Israel. As for Hezbollah in south Lebanon, its leader Sheik Nasrallah has threatened Israel with over 12,000 rockets. In addition, to thousands of short range Katyusha rockets, Hezbollah also has an arsenal of Fajer rockets with a range of 75 kilometers that could targets deeper inside northern Israel. Yair Ramati, of Israel Aircraft Industries, told the committee that the Israeli developed Arrow anti-missile system is capable of knocking down ballistic missiles launched at Israel (ballistic missiles are fired above the atmosphere and then re-enter to hit their targets.Ramati spoke of Israel's two-layer anti-missile system that included Patriot-3 missiles as well.

But if the Arrow has placed Israel on the cutting edge of missile technology, how come Israeli engineers have not found an answer for the primitive home made Qassam rockets being launched daily by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip? It turns out that paradoxically it is very tough to find a cost effective answer to cope with the Qassams that can be produced for a few dollars per rocket.Offensively, Israel depends on air strikes by piloted aircraft rather precise missiles; should this strategic mix be reconsidered? IsraCast will discuss this aspect of the missile issue in an upcoming report.

David Essing

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