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The Arrow missile, seen here during its launch, successfully intercepted a ballistic missile that simulated Iran's most advanced possible future warhead. Israel says it's ready to shoot down nukes and traditional missiles from Iran and others.  (Source: AP)
"Bring it on," says Israel

While the 90s saw a time of relative peace, with the Iraq war and the escalate tensions with Iran, Israel is staying alert and preparing for any kind of assault.  The Israeli Air Force just wrapped up the 17th test of its new missile defense system and is confident that it can now shoot down any ballistic nuclear missiles that Iran or others could shoot at it.

The Palmahim Base launched an Arrow interceptor at a Blue Sparrow Missile, fired from an F-15 fighter jet.  The missile was designed to mimic an Iranian Shihab 3 missile, the kind of missile that Israel expects Iran to potentially use as a nuclear weapon delivery platform.  The Blue Sparrow has a split warhead and advanced radar-evading capabilities.  While the Shihab 3 ballistic missile currently lacks these capabilities, it is believed that Iran is working to develop them.  The test was jointly conducted by the IAF and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

An integral part of the new missile defense system is its new Green Pine radar system.  This highly accurate radar system was deployed to the Negev Desert in 2008.

Brig.-Gen. Daniel Milo, commander of the IAF's Air Defense Division said that the test's success, despite poor visibility, was a testament to the readiness of the country's missile defense program.  He states, "The Arrow technology is always improving, and we cannot forget that the enemy is also advancing with its capabilities."

It is unclear how well the system will work against Iran's latest missile, though -- the Sajjil.  The Sajjil is Iran's first solid fuel rocket.  Solid fuel allows the rocket to have a much greater accuracy than the previous liquid designs.  The missile has a range of 2,000 km.  Iran also has a stockpile of several BM25 intercontinental missiles which it purchased four or more years ago from North Korea.

The Arrow is also exceptionally effective against the Syrian Scud D, which is capable of delivering traditional and nontraditional payloads to anywhere in Israel.  Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the test "another achievement for Israel on its way to obtaining a multi-level missile defense system, starting with the Iron Dome to defend against short-range rockets, and to the Arrow."

The Israel missile defense system helps provide valuable test data to help the U.S. develop and improve its own missile shield.  The U.S., like Israel, claims its missile defense shield to be active and ready to destroy any nuclear threat.

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By stromgald30 on 4/9/2009 4:55:24 PM , Rating: 3
Ballistic missiles are old, but they're still around. Why? Because they're cheap and they work well enough. Tracking one is easy, but shooting it down isn't. Even on ascent and at its peak, you're still trying to hit something moving very, very fast. Cruise missiles are easier to shoot down because they're relatively slow.

I'm not sure why you think Israel's radar wouldn't be able to track cruise missiles. Cruise missiles are basically just like a small UAV filled with ordnance. They wouldn't be hard to detect unless they are 1) stealth or 2) hide in the ground clutter. Considering Iran's level of tech, I don't think 1 is possible. As for 2, it depends on Israel's radar systems vs. Iran's terrain following technology. Personally, I'd bet on Israel.

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By penumbra on 4/9/2009 5:30:35 PM , Rating: 2
As far as i know, a high level air force radar can easily track down a ballistic missile in its trajectory rather than their flight. For example, Pakistan main ballistic missiles with ranges upto 4500km and beyond are 2m in diameter and more than 12 m long. Thats a pretty big cross section. Once your radar tracks it, all you need is a highly mobile SAM to take radar's guidance and shoot the ballistic missile down.
I don't even know why they are afraid of Iran. Just another cause to Pursue their own nuclear weapons. USA and Israel can have them, but muslims nations can't. right.
I can proudly say Pakistan has them, and unlike Israel who wanted to bomb our program in 1988, and they couldn't do it because they knew any aircraft won't survive the return journey. Pakistan stated in 1996 we have abandoned nuclear weapons program. 1997 CIA publishes report to confirm that. 1998 Pakistan conducts 5 nuclear "Hot Tests". Again, Israel wanted to bomb Pakistani nuclear program with help from Indian airbases. F-16s lying around on Indian Airbases, when they don't have any, meant Israel was ready. But then again cowards couldn't do it. So now the moral of the story is, muslims are not gonna be deprived of nuclear weapons. Israel itself well and truly knows, if they meddle with us we can literally wipe them out. I don't even think that Iran is a threat.

The thing you said about cruise missiles, well the Pakistani ones are terrain hugging tested to avoid radar at subsonic speeds for upto 600km, submarine and air launched.
A radar has tracking range in shape of a inverted cone (Pointed side down, maximum area at top). hence if you can guide the cruise missile around that vacuum of tracking, basically it's evading the radar.

Last there is the question of multiple trackings for Ballistic missiles, as Iran may send in decoys. You can't tell which one is loaded.

By stromgald30 on 4/9/2009 6:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
I don't even know why they are afraid of Iran. Just another cause to Pursue their own nuclear weapons. USA and Israel can have them, but muslims nations can't.
But then again cowards couldn't do it. So now the moral of the story is, muslims are not gonna be deprived of nuclear weapons.

Despite what you may think, the US and UN opposition to nations having nuclear arms has nothing to do with religion. I could care less if a Muslim country has nuclear weapons. I do have a problem with countries controlled by stupid governments fixated on their own petty little issues having nuclear weapons because they're most likely to use them. And IMO, the little stunt pulled by both Pakistan and India in 1998 falls in that category of 'stupid'. I'd be much happier if both countries didn't have nuclear weapons.

In addition, the US is NOT pursuing any more nuclear weapons. There are plenty stockpiled in Russia and the US that no more nuclear weapons are being developed by either side.

Israel acts out of fear most of the time and that's the problem. Your comment of F-16s on Indian airbases just shows what lengths India was willing to go to take out Pakistan's nuclear capability. I don't think it reflects much on Israel or the US. F-16s are generally interceptors, not attack bombers. If Israel truly wanted to bomb Pakistan, they'd have done it themselves using F-15s flying from Israel, not F-16s based in India.

A regular SAM can not shoot down a ballistic missile. It's like trying to hit a bullet with another bullet. The size and cross-section only affects detection, not the ability to shoot it down. Sure, SAMs have some maneuverability and tracking, but the accuracy required is still more than what the SAMs that China, Russia, India, or Pakistan are capable of.

Radar is not as simple as you seem to make it. If the terrain is relatively flat, radar towers can be used. There are also AWACS planes whose radars point downward to see ground hugging cruise missiles. Of course, you get a lot of radar reflection from the trees, buildings, etc. on the ground, but good radars can pick out an object moving at 200+mph along the ground.

Yes, Iran could send decoys, and there's really no solution to the decoys other than maybe detecting differences in thermal signatures or just shooting all of them down.

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By penumbra on 4/10/2009 12:31:49 AM , Rating: 2
What utter nonsense.

In 1988 it was USA who stopped Israel from taking action against the Pakistani research. Because Pakistan was running the covert war and raising freedom fighters for the USA to fight off the Soviets from Afghanistan, which they did. Same freedom fighters that USA raised that you now call terrorists.
As i have mentioned earlier, the only reason for wars is that USA and Israel see an apparent threat and then go after it. After all it employs millions of people directly and indirectly.

Lastly, even if Israel Fighers, f-15 or f-16, came into Pakistan at Mach 2.0 speeds, do you think they would make it back alive? So you think we would wait and get bombed while our Mirages, F-16s and f-7s just watch the show? Nice man...keep dreaming.

I think i will refrain from posting here as only the Jews are spamming here. Being proud of a country that i am very proudly saying that i don't recognize neither would ever do.

Even if Ahmadinejad said something of wiping Israel out, his supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei didn't agree. But Israel went in front of the world asking for sympathy and nothing else. You seriously need to get over what happened in WWII. What Israel is doing now in Gaza is no different. So why should it feel safe?

And China has the capability to shoot down satellites...and so pretty much the ballistic missiles.
And about Russia...they have the S-400 which you can read here...

its just a matter of time before these come in hands of India and Pakistan.

So keep on dreaming....oh maybe you were laid off with a pink slip or some Brown man from South Asia took away your job and your girl.


By stromgald30 on 4/10/2009 3:23:09 AM , Rating: 2
Did you not even read my post? Your first few paragraphs somewhat agree with what I said or miss the point completely.

I said that if Israel wanted to bomb Pakistan, they would. Sure, the US would strongly advise against that, but why would they base F-16s in India for that? Your earlier point about possible Israeli F-16s striking from India doesn't make sense.

I'm sure if it did happen, Pakistan wouldn't stand idly by. I never said Pakistan would. I said that Israel could strike at specific targets in Pakistan if they wanted to. For that matter, they could probably do that, technologically speaking, to any other country except maybe Russia and the US.

China's demonstration means very little. A satellite has a very well known flight path. China invested weeks of analysis and calculations on the flight path to make sure it worked. Hitting a missile that was launched less than 15 minutes ago is a different story.

OK, I admit, I was wrong about the Russia's capabilities. They had only developed it in 2004, and I haven't kept close enough track of all their new developments.

Your pathetic attack on me just shows that you're running out of arguments. Next time, put up some facts instead of resorting to ad hominem.

By Felofasofa on 4/10/2009 4:18:40 AM , Rating: 2
That S-400 Wiki link is pretty funny. Most capability of Russian hardware is grossly overstated, usually by Western Media encouraged by our military. Films like Hunt for Red October don't help. Silent propulsion blah blah, when in reality the Russians are yet to perfect a SLBM system even today. The Russians themselves have absolutely no confidence in most of their systems, only we did.

By beerhound on 4/11/2009 3:27:27 PM , Rating: 2
Just a small correction. F-16 most definitely are used in an attack role. In fact they are used more often in a ground attack roll than in air to air. For the type of mission mentioned above (blowing up a nuke facility) the configuration would depend on how far they needed to fly and if they had tanker support. If it can fly the mission on internal fuel (about 1000 US gal for the 1 seat or 800 for the 2 seat) or have tanker support, then they would most likely carry 2 2000lb bombs under each wing. If they need to carry drop tanks, then it would be 1 bomb under each wing.

By Reclaimer77 on 4/10/2009 12:30:00 PM , Rating: 1
So now the moral of the story is, muslims are not gonna be deprived of nuclear weapons. Israel itself well and truly knows, if they meddle with us we can literally wipe them out . I don't even think that Iran is a threat.

As an American, I want to thank you for helping dispel the idea that you're all a bunch of crazies looking to get your hands on nukes so you can wipe out your ancient enemies...

Oh wait, nevermind. Thanks for nothing !

By Clairvoyance on 4/11/2009 3:04:37 PM , Rating: 2
The only reason ballistic missiles are still around is because politics prevented the development and deployment of technology to counter them. The inherent weaknesses of ballistic missiles (highly visible, easily predictable trajectory) and the principles of exploiting them are well known. The US has been intercepting ballistic missiles since the '60s. The Soviet Union built an operational ABM system around Moscow in the '70s. But it was politics, not practicality, that retarded ABM development, and thus gave the ICBM a several decades undeserved extension on life.

Cruise missiles are actually quite difficult to intercept. A radar on a 100ft mast has a radar horizon of about 45 km against a cruise missile flying at 100ft AGL. You need AWACS and fighters with advanced radars to reliably defend against low flying targets. The only reason it seems easy is because we've invested a lot into technology designed to do just that - the same systems effective against low flying aircraft are also effective against a small, suicidal unmanned low flying aircraft.

Conversely, the only reason intercepting ballistic missiles seems hard is because our defense systems built in the past decades are optimized for aircraft - comparatively slow, low altitude, and highly maneuverable. You need the opposite for ballistic missiles: large, high energy, very fast interceptors; maneuverability optional. Compare PAC-2 to PAC-3, SM-2 to SM-3 or 9M96 to 48N6E2. Very different missiles for very different roles, fired from similar platforms.

Only now has development begun again on ABM (and even now political obstacles still exist). Once ABM widely proliferates - barring politics, if you have a space program, you also have ABM - expect ballistic missiles to go the way of obsolete. All of the tactics and evolving technology that bombers and cruise missiles use in their arms race with defenses: low altitude penetration, evasion, armed penetration, electronic warfare, stealth; are not available to ballistic missiles.
The most significant challenge in shooting down ballistic missiles was not their extremely high speed, but the political barrier. Once this is gone, BMs don't have a prayer.

Before anyone says MIRVs or decoys:

MIRV technology was always a cost reduction measure. The infrastructure required to support, protect, and most importantly, control an ICBM is hugely expensive. Hardened silos, operations and maintenance crews, and C3I costs a lot. Coupled with treaties that limit numbers of missiles, it just makes sense to load up more relatively cheap warheads and get the most out of the big money you've already spent.
A MIRV bus is quite vulnerable - since warheads are unpowered, and the bus itself has only enough fuel to reposition itself between warhead separations, it's quite the basket with many eggs in it. Remember, the warheads only have a rather narrow window in which they must separate if they are to hit their targets. Too soon or too late and they'll miss. MIRVs were only viable in the absence of ABM.

Decoys are a dumb idea that's never been really taken seriously. It may be possible to use radar reflective surfaces to give an object a larger RCS. It may be possible to give it a power source to increase its thermal signature. And it's also theoretically possible to precisely engineer these features to resemble an actual warhead. But you also need the decoy to have the same approximate mass as the real warheads, or else their trajectories will be easily distinguishable. At this point... why not just add another warhead? Every decoy you put on your missile is one warhead the enemy just destroyed without ever firing a shot.

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