Artillery: December 30, 2004


Israel is moving the radar for its Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) to southern Israel. There it will be used to improve an early warning system against Palestinian Kassam rockets. These rockets are essentially home-made. They have a short range (a few kilometers) and not much accuracy. But hundreds have been fired and there have been a few fatalities. Israel has been using one of its artillery spotting radars for early warning, but the performance has not been satisfactory. An early warning system for Kassams has to be right nearly all of the time. False positives send people running for cover needlessly, and the Israelis know that when this happens too often, some people stop paying attention to the early warning alarms. 

THEL is not due for regular use until 2007. But its the laser that still needs work. The THEL radar is already in good shape, and this will provide an opportunity to operate the radar under new conditions. The THEL system was designed to knock down larger, and better made, rockets than the Kassams. If it can track the smaller Kassams, it may be able to knock them down with the laser (which is still being tested). 


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