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Nautilus Tactical High Energy Laser  (Source: Northrop Grumman)

Effective range of Kassam and Katyusha rockets.  (Source: Koret Communications Ltd.)
Residents in Sderot have had enough of rocket attacks and want the laser-based Nautilus system in place

DailyTech recently discussed the use of military-grade laser used as weapons in a number of articles. Boeing installed a 12,000-pound, high-energy laser into its C-130H Gunship and Northrop Grumman has similar "laser ambitions" with the Guardian anti-missile system installed in an MD-10 cargo jet.

While Americans are typically apathetic to the use of such technology for military duties, some residents in Israel are clamoring to have laser-based weapons as a safety net for their towns. Sderot residents have gone so far as to sue the Israeli government -- more specifically, they named Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as defendants in the civil suit.

The Sderot residents want the Israeli government to install the Nautilus Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) system to protect the region from Kassam and Katyusha rockets. Sderot has been heavily bombarded with such rockets over the years which have resulted in numerous deaths. The residents feel that suing the government may be its only chance for protection against further attacks.

"Israel could bring the system to Sderot and use it to protect the people there from Kassam rockets," said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner who heads the Israel Law Center which represents the Sderot residents. "In 1996, when Israel was under threat from Lebanon, Israel asked the United States to help them establish a system to protect northern settlements from Katyusha rockets. This system, called Nautilus, shot down Katyushas, Kassams and bombs with 100 percent success."

Unfortunately for the Sderot residents, the Nautilus program stalled in 2005 after ten years of development and $400 million USD spent between Israel and the United States. Since that time, rocket fire has increased which has led the Israeli government to develop yet another system dubbed "Iron Dome." The Iron Dome system will cost the government $100,000 for each incoming rocket it destroys – if it destroys them at all. Recent tests show that Iron Dome is incapable of protecting Sderot from incoming Kassam rockets.

"[Nautilus is] just sitting there in New Mexico. There is a way to take it apart, bring it to Israel and rebuild it," Darshan-Leitner continued. "A company told me that it would take no longer than five or six months. It would cost around 50 million dollars to rebuild it, but there would be unlimited protection against Katyushas, Kassams, and bombs."

Despite Darshan-Leitner's optimism of the performance of the Nautilus system -- she quotes an extremely optimistic 100 perfect effective rate -- a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Ministry says that such claims are preposterous. "As long as there was a chance that the results would lead to a functional, effective missile defense system we stuck with the program. But in 2005 the US military backed out of the program because it wasn't working, and we decided to end our involvement as well," said spokesman Shlomo Dror.

Despite the concerns from Sderot residents, Dror tried to express that the government is working hard to provide protection for its citizens.

"There is no way to put a price tag on the trauma caused by living with the ongoing threat from, and even more for people injured or even killed by Kassam attacks, God forbid," said Dror. "We are spending as much as we need to in order to develop the most effective system we can to protect residents of Sderot and the entire western Negev region."



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RE: Jerusalem
By os008 on 3/14/2008 1:17:52 PM , Rating: 2
I'm against any kind of terrorism, but to ask someone to stop the violence, while being acted upon in the same way, and live peacefully while he's being oppressed is really contradicting to logic.

I mentioned before that i agree on the second point, about the internal conflict, this needs to be resolved first, and that's my opinion too indeed. I always prayed for Palestinians to start uniting amongst themselves, THEN the arabs, before we could actually make ANY difference.

By the way, i forgot to mention before about our hate to USA and Israel. Well, our hate to Israel is well known ... they took our land (specifics has been dicussed before, don't take it for granted). As for the USA ... just remember they're always behind Israel for some reason, as an Egyptian i can talk for my own country ... during the Israeli occupation of Egypt back in the 60s and 70s, USA gave Israel a ton of weapons to fight against us, while WE were the oppressed, now, i would like to see how you would argue against a REAL occupation and USA helping in it. While on the other hand going to Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan trying to free its people from oppression, what kind of sick mentality is that?!

In the end, i would like to say that i do NOT hate Israelis, or Americans, and i do NOT think they're the big evil of this world coming to consume us all. I HATE their government and anyone inside those countries who agree to their policies. And it happens that i know a LOT of normal Americans who actually disagree with their country's policy and think it's stupid and has an agenda behind it. Same goes for Israelis but a bit of a minority. Also, a lot of Arabs think the same way ... extremists who think Israel should be erradicated are like 0.01% of Muslims, most Muslims are just upset and want a solution. When someone is angry he can say a lot of things, but doesn't necessarily mean it.


RE: Jerusalem
By crystal clear on 3/15/2008 12:42:26 AM , Rating: 2
Since you are from Egypt then what better example can I give-

Israel/ Egypt were at wars for many years till came Mr Sadat
who took the bold step of talking to Mr Begin.

Now WE both live in PEACE -NO WAR NO BLOODSHED.

Yes we have our differences but we talk it out & settle them
in a peaceful way.

We have REAL peace with you...........


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