The Race between Palestinian Rocket Capabilities and Israel's Defensive Capabilities

(Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security) Dr. Uzi Rubin - During the fighting on August 5-7, 2022, between Israel and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, most of the rockets fired at Israel that were headed towards Israeli population centers were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Israel suffered no fatalities and only 3 lightly wounded persons (two IDF troops hit by a mortar bomb and a Palestinian worker in an industrial plant hit by a rocket). 28 other Israelis were hurt while rushing to take shelter. Only four houses were directly hit by rockets (with no casualties among their residents). Nevertheless, in a short time, Islamic Jihad managed to launch 1,175 rockets and mortar bombs against Israeli targets. During a two-day round of fighting in 2019 between Israel and Islamic Jihad, IJ managed to fire only 450 rockets and mortar bombs, which illustrates a major enhancement in its capabilities. In addition, IJ concentrated its fire by launching massive salvoes in brief time periods. This proficiency was seen on the second day of the fighting in 2022, when IJ launched at least five large salvoes against Ashkelon within two and a half hours. It appears evident that IJ's rocket manufacturing and launching facilities have not been seriously damaged by previous Israeli offensives against them. It also appears that there is no lack of raw materials and components for expanded rocket and rocket launcher production lines. Arguably, what is true for IJ is also true for Hamas. It can therefore be expected that in future escalation rounds in Gaza, the combined rate of rocket fire by the Palestinian armed militias will reach or even exceed 1,000 rockets per day. At the same time, there has been a degradation in the reliability of the Gaza-produced rockets. While the rate of failed launches during the 2014 operation stood at 7%, the failure rate grew to 23% during the fighting in 2021. The writer was founding director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, which managed the Arrow program.

2022-09-22 00:00:00

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