Israel demon­strerte nylig et nytt aktivt for­svars­sys­tem i strids­vog­ner: en radar scan­ner for inn­kom­mende mis­si­ler og fyrer av en liten spreng­lad­ning som uska­de­lig­gjør dem. Sys­te­met kalt Trophy er alle­rede prøve­skutt 700 gan­ger. Hvis det viser seg effek­tivt kan det revo­lu­sjo­nere krig­fø­rin­gen på bak­ken.

Trophy er bare ett av flere sys­te­mer som er offen­sive for­svars­sys­te­mer. Sam­men med fører­løse dro­ner skjer det en revo­lu­sjo­ne­ring av krig­fø­rin­gen. Israel har alle­rede fører­løse skip som patru­le­rer kys­ten av Gaza.

The Trophy is belie­ved to be the first of a series of so-cal­led “active defense” sys­tems to become ope­ra­tio­nal. Such sys­tems aim to neut­ra­lize threats before they strike the tank. In the past, tanks have relied on increas­ingly thick lay­ers of armor or “reac­tive” tech­no­logy that weakens an incoming rocket upon impact by set­ting off a small explo­sion.


Israeli weapons maker Rafael, the devel­oper of the Trophy, says the sys­tem has been in the works for years, but the bit­ter expe­ri­ence of Israel’s 2006 war against Hez­bol­lah guer­ril­las in Leba­non gave the pro­ject an extra push.

Devel­opers say the Trophy can stop any anti-tank rocket in the for­mi­dable Hez­bol­lah arse­nal, which struck dozens of Israeli tanks and kil­led at least 19 Israeli tank crew­men during their mon­thlong war.

We can cope with any threat in our neigh­bor­hood, and more,” said Gil, the Trophy’s pro­gram mana­ger at Rafael. Citing security con­si­de­ra­tions, the com­pany would not permit pub­li­ca­tion of his last name.
Israeli ana­lyst Yiftah Sha­pir said it is pre­ma­ture to tell whether the Trophy can make a major dif­fe­rence, how­ever. He said the army must cope with the high costs of the sys­tem and deter­mine exactly how it will be used.

When eve­ryone knows that it works properly, it will change the battle­field,” he said.
Israeli media have said the cost is about $200,000 per tank. Rafael refu­sed to divulge the price of the sys­tem, say­ing only that it’s a “small frac­tion” of the cost of a tank.
Gil and his small team of scien­tists con­duct tests at a site in the outer reaches of Rafael’s spraw­ling hea­dquar­ters in northern Israel — firing rocket-pro­pelled gre­nades, Sager rock­ets, and TOW and Cor­net mis­si­les at a lone tank set up in front of a mas­sive for­ti­fied wall. The results are ana­ly­zed in a con­crete hut loa­ded with lap­tops and flat-screen moni­tors.

The tiny Trophy sys­tem, lod­ged behind small rectan­gu­lar plates on both sides of the tank, uses radar to detect the incoming pro­jecti­les and fires a small charge to inter­cept them, said Gil.

After firing, the sys­tem quickly reloads. The entire process is auto­mated, holds fire if the rocket is going to miss the tank, and cau­ses such a small explo­sion that the chan­ces of unin­ten­tio­nally hur­ting fri­endly sol­di­ers through col­la­te­ral damage is only 1 per­cent, the com­pany says.

Pike, the mili­tary ana­lyst, said sys­tems like the Trophy are con­side­red the way of the future for ground war­fare. The tech­no­logy is a key com­po­nent of the U.S. “Future Com­bat Sys­tem,” the mas­ter plan for the Ame­ri­can mili­tary, he said. The U.S. and Rus­sia are devel­o­ping simi­lar sys­tems.

If the tech­no­logy works, he said it will reduce the need for heavy armor on tanks — resul­ting in ligh­ter vehicles that are easier to trans­port and deploy and are more nim­ble on the battle­field. But, he noted, “it’s a lot easier to get it to work on a test range than it is to get it to work on a battle­field.”

Lova Drori, Rafael’s exe­cutive vice pre­si­dent for mar­ke­ting, said “there is a lot of inte­rest” inter­na­tio­nally in the Trophy and he expects “quite a few custo­mers” in the coming years.

Rafael offi­ci­als said the Trophy has passed more than 700 live tests, and alre­ady has been installed in some Israeli Merkava 4 tanks in a pilot pro­ject.
In a state­ment, the army said “dozens of tanks should be out­fit­ted with the new sys­tem” by the end of the year, adding that Trophy con­tri­butes to “main­tai­ning a stra­te­gic advan­tage over enemy for­ces.”

More than three years later, the 2006 war con­ti­nues to shake Israel’s defense estab­lish­ment. Upward of 1,000 Lebanese were kil­led in the figh­ting, accor­ding to tallies by the Lebanese govern­ment, huma­ni­ta­rian groups and The Associa­ted Press. In all, 159 Israe­lis were kil­led. The war ended in a stale­mate and is largely viewed in Israel as a def­eat.

The Trophy is the latest in a series of new sys­tems. State-owned Israel Mili­tary Indu­stries is pro­du­cing “Iron Fist,” an anti-mis­sile defense that is expec­ted to be installed on Israeli armo­red per­son­nel car­riers next year.

That sys­tem takes a dif­fe­rent approach from Trophy, first using jam­ming tech­no­logy that can make the mis­sile veer off course, and if that fails, crea­ting a “shock wave” to blow it up, said Eyal Ben-Haim, vice pre­si­dent of the company’s land-sys­tem divi­sion.
State-run Rafael is also devel­o­ping “Iron Dome,” which can shoot down the short-range Kat­y­usha rock­ets that rai­ned down on Israel in 2006, as well as Hamas rock­ets fired from the Gaza Strip. Iron Dome is expec­ted to be deployed by this sum­mer near Gaza.
The Israeli air force recently unvei­led a squad­ron of unman­ned air­pla­nes capable of reaching Iran, the key backer of Hez­bol­lah and Hamas mili­tants.
Rafael has also devel­o­ped an unman­ned naval boat cal­led the Pro­tec­tor, which it says is alre­ady prow­ling the waters off the Gaza coast. The Israeli navy con­fir­med the Pro­tec­tor is being tested, but gave no furt­her details.

Israeli unveils tank-defense sys­tem of the future

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  • Einar9

    Back to an old game with Syria

    By most accounts it was a con­fi­dent Bashar al-Assad who rece­i­ved Walid Jum­blatt in Dama­scus on Wed­nes­day. When it comes to Dama­scus’ regio­nal position, the Syrian pre­si­dent sees the stars alig­ned in his favor. Which means that, at worst, he can afford to do not­hing at all, and, at best, neg­o­tiate to arrive at not­hing at all.

    John Kerry, the chair­man of the US Senate Com­mittee on For­eign Rela­tions, retur­ned to the Middle East this week, visi­ting both Leba­non and Syria, and it’s not dif­fi­cult to see what he had in mind. With the pro­s­pect that the Pale­sti­nian-Israeli track will remain stalled, ambitious for­eign policy play­ers in Wash­ing­ton are look­ing to the Syrian-Israeli track for a pos­sible break­through. And these days when Ame­ri­cans pro­pose ope­nings toward Syria, they come to Bei­rut first, as did Kerry, to insist that “any­thing we do with respect to the peace process in this region will not come at the expense of Leba­non.”

    That’s good to hear, but also irre­le­vant since the Syri­ans have alre­ady mana­ged to largely reim­pose their writ in Bei­rut. And this they’ve done because of many factors, Lebanese divi­sions chief among them, but also because people like John Kerry have spent years fee­ding Assad poli­ti­cal oxygen by lau­ding the advan­ta­ges of enga­ging Syria, even when Syria was desta­bi­li­zing its neigh­bors.

    Kerry’s trip will likely yield few tangible results. But the sena­tor alre­ady knows that. His pri­mary aim is to regis­ter his poli­ti­cal stake in a Syrian-Israeli neg­o­tia­tion process, if one even­tually resu­mes.

    That may sound fami­liar. The Syrian regime spent the decade of the ‘90s rece­i­ving buoy­ant Ame­ri­cans in Dama­scus wan­ting to talk about peace with Israel. And while it’s true that the Syri­ans were pre­pared at one stage to con­clude a final sett­le­ment, which was rejected by Israeli Prime Minis­ter Ehud Barak, it was always essen­tial to their approach that peace should not under­mine the Assad regime. Peace had to be on Syrian terms and defined in such a way that it would pre­serve Syria’s com­plex security scaffol­ding prop­ping up the regime. 

    Little has changed. For Bashar al-Assad, fina­li­zing a neg­o­tia­tion process with Israel is far less impor­tant than using neg­o­tia­tions to advance other Syrian priori­ties. The first (not in any spec­ial order) is the con­so­li­da­tion of Syria’s hege­mony over Leba­non, which is moving for­ward at a brisk speed. This means weakening all inde­pen­dent, potenti­ally refrac­tory Lebanese figu­res, above all Saad al-Hariri.

    A second priority is positioning Syria advan­tage­ously regio­nally at a time when the Middle East is going through major trans­for­ma­tions. Assad has mane­uve­red well. The Saudi and Egyp­tian regi­mes are get­ting old and Syria is, for now, on good terms with two of the more power­ful sta­tes of the Arab peri­phery, Tur­key and Iran. But the lat­ter rela­tion­ship only makes Assad more relu­ctant to engage in serious neg­o­tia­tions with Israel, unless it first accepts his mini­mal con­dition: a full wit­hdra­wal to the June 4, 1967 lines in the Golan Heights.

    A third priority for Assad is to bol­ster his regime inter­nally. The pre­si­dent is run­ning Syria in a more cen­tra­lized, hands-on fashion than his fat­her. The notion that he was con­trolled by an “old guard” was untrue five years ago, and is utterly ridi­cu­lous today. Those from his family or com­mu­nity who had any leeway to threa­ten his position have eit­her been eli­mi­nated or pushed to the side­li­nes. Under these cir­cums­tan­ces, Assad will think long before embar­king in reso­lute talks with Israel. He is more likely to pre­fer tal­king just for the sake of tal­king, which little threa­tens Syria’s dome­stic equi­li­brium.

    Finally, there is the Uni­ted Sta­tes. With the Ame­ri­cans ensnared in Afgha­ni­stan and head­ing toward the exits in Iraq, Assad has not­hing to worry about. Time is on his side, even as Ame­ri­can envoys knock at his door in the name of engage­ment, but wit­hout any clear idea of how this is sup­po­sed to bene­fit the Uni­ted Sta­tes. Assad has alre­ady made clear that he has no inten­tion of breaking with Iran or chan­ging his policy toward Hez­bol­lah. Yet the Ame­ri­cans just keep coming. 

    The natu­ral reflex in a posi­ti­vist place like Wash­ing­ton is to gene­rate opti­mism in one direc­tion when pes­si­mism cha­rac­te­rizes anot­her. You know that soon the Syrian-Israeli track will again excite for­eign policy actors, wonks and pun­dits in the Ame­ri­can capi­tal, because the Pale­sti­nian track might remain clo­sed. We’ll be back to the old game the Syri­ans played so well in the past. That means don’t expect much from Bashar al-Assad. He’s perfectly at ease where he is. 

    Michael Young is opi­nion edi­tor of the Daily Star new­spa­per in Bei­rut.

    Dette nett­ste­det vil jeg anbe­fale alle å lese. Et meget bra liba­ne­sisk nett­sted med sær­de­les les­ver­dige artik­ler. Hvis Docu­ment ikke har en linkside så burde de opp­rette det og legge til dette nett­ste­det.