Defending Israel

Watching the endless news coverage about the situation in Gaza the other day and noting the justification for the attacks cited by Israel was the rocket shelling by Hamas militants, I couldn’t help but recall that during the first Gulf War, the Israelis had deployed the much-touted “Patriot” system to serve as a defense against incoming short range ballistic missiles and particularly the SCUDs being lobbed at Israeli civilians by Saddam Hussein. Reviews of that weapons system’s performance during that conflict were mixed at best and disappointing at worst.

In the 30 years since then however, new ABM systems utilizing laser beams (sounds almost comical, I know) such as the “Skyguard” system, an improved version of the tactical high energy laser (THEL) technology (as well as the “Talon” iteration designed for mounting on mobile land/air vehicles) have been designed to provide defense against air-based threats such as short-range ballistic missiles and rockets, artillery and mortars.

According to defense contractor Northrop-Grumman, these high-energy, solid-state electric lasers have proven to be extremely effective in shooting down incoming ordinance. If that’s actually the case, then why isn’t Israel simply utilizing this system to protect its civilians in southern Israeli cities from Qassam rocket attacks? Maybe I’m missing something here…