The Happy Arab News Service




Wednesday, May 9, 2007




And Comptroller Said . . .

A Kassam rocket is launched from Gaza.
Photo: Channel 1

State Comptroller, Micha Lindenstrauss, slammed the IDF for its response (or the lack of it) to the threat of Hamas' underground tunnels and short range missiles. The Comptroller's main criticism was about the way the IDF failed to develop an adequate technology to face these challenges. Yet, however harsh the criticism is, it is focused squarely on the past while the IDF and this hapless defense minister are already laying ground for the next State Comptroller's report. The issue of developing a system against short range ballistic threats has been already mismanaged when the defense ministry opted for going with the Rafael's system codenamed 'Iron Dome', not expected to be ready before well into the next decade.

A few details released about the system raise questions about the whole idea. The system is designed to intercept Kassams and Katyushas with a kinetic warhead whose costs run into dozens of thousands of dollars. To compare, a short range Katyusha costs from $3,000 to $5000 to produce. And it should come as no surprise if in the end the production costs of the kinetic warhead reach hundreds of thousands of dollars, as initial estimates for such projects usually tend to be overly optimistic.

But it's not even the possibility of the 'Dome's costs per one intercepted missile getting out of control that makes the IDF's choice seem so weird. It's the fact that the system won't be ready within next few years while Sderot is daily under fire and the next war with Hezbollah and Syria is predicted by some for this very summer. Meanwhile Northrop Grumman's Skyguard was dismissed as a possible solution, despite the fact that the company went out of its way to address all issues and doubts raised by the army. Northrop Grumman promised that the first system can be delivered within next few months and it would have been a good idea to, at least, purchase one such a system for a trial, while Rafael keeps developing its own solution.

The lethargy and political apathy that plague this country will ensure that the responsible for this blunder get away unscathed for yet another time. Unless here comes an unexpectedly massive barrage of Kassams and Katyushas and suddenly achieves what this country so desperately wants to believe cannot happen.

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