Military & Aerospace

Israel-Hezbollah Conflict Part-6 : Anti-Rocket Solutions
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Issue Vol 22.1 Jan - Mar 2007 | Date : 26 Apr , 2007

Alon Ben David says overall some 4228 rockets were fired on Israel at the overall rate of almost 130 rockets a day Actually the rate averaged around 150 – 180 rockets per day for the first 10 days, with as many as 47 being fired in a single salvo. The rate peaked at 380 on 18 July and then dropped to an average of little over 100 a day towards the end Aug. In early Aug the rate began to climb again after a two days cease-fire, reached 250 rocket strikes on 13 Aug 06, the last day of the hostilities.56

Tactical High Energy Laser

One solution being explored to counter Free Rockets is the Tactical High Energy Laser. The Northrop Grumman Skyguard Land based air defence system was under trial. However, though it demonstrated its ability to intercept Katyushas, the IDF feels that the size of the chemical laser generator is too large, while the area coverage is very narrow. Thus it would require a huge amount of funding and is unaffordable for the present.57 Stunner/other Solutions A short range Anti Ballistic Missile Interceptor (called Stunner) is being developed by Rafel and Raytheon (for intercepting low cost Ballistic Missiles and rockets with ranges from 40 – 200 km). Low cost radar controlled, high rate guns like Oerlikon Contraves are being examined as an interim solution. Another cheaper solution being examined is firing homing Rocket salvos against such incoming barrages of Free Rockets.58

Logistics Collapse

As part of an overall cost cutting solution, the Israeli COS Lt Gen Dan Halutz had reorganised the traditional structure of the IDF (a land force with two semi- independent arms the IAF and with IN) into a Unified Service. As stated earlier, substantial part of the Technological and Logistics Directorate (TLD), Personal Directorate and the Command, Control, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) Directorate were merged in the Army HQ (called Ground Arm Command in Hebrew). Both the Ordinance Corps and the Logistics Corps were transferred from the TLD to Army HQ. 59

Regional Logistics

A new concept of ‘regional logistics’ was developed: instead of each division having its own logistics unit. Regional logistics centres were created that were supposed to provide service for units operating in their respective areas. This concept proved to be a complete disaster during the fighting in Lebanon. Most units operating beyond the blue line received little or nil logistics support. Some units were left for days without food, water, supplies of ammunition and spare parts. There were several cases of troops suffering from dehydration. The Northern Command was slow in breaching logistics routes and after several days of fighting, the IAF had to be called in to drop emergency air supplies. This had only limited success. Retired Maj Gen Itzik Ben – Israel (Head of Security Studies at Tel Aviv University), stated emphatically “The concept of regional Logistics should be immediately abandoned and the units should return to providing their own Logistics”.60

The division has become a tried and tested standard military organisation that has proved its relevance and resilience from the era of Napoleonic wars, right down to the First and Second World Wars and all the post war conflicts. Tampering with such tried and tested structures, (that have withstood the shock of numerous wars) can only be done at the grave risk of complete failure. The Israeli case is a clear cut warning that peace time cost cutting exercises may please the auditors and economists, Unfortunately they can breed disaster on the battlefield. The Israeli case is a grim and timely warning and we must internalise its lessons at the earliest.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Maj Gen GD Bakshi, (Retd)

is a war Veteran and Strategic Analyst.

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