Sunday, September 19, 2004

Israel develops radar to warn of incoming Gaza Strip missiles

Tel Aviv - The Israeli army is installing a radar system in the town of Sderot to warn of incoming rockets fired by Palestinian militants in the northern Gaza Strip, the Israeli Ha’aretz daily reported on Sunday.

The system will give residents about 20 seconds warning of incoming Qassam missiles, the report said. Israeli army estimates say the average flight time of a Qassam rocket is 30 seconds.

Palestinians have this year fired over 100 rockets at Sderot, which is located about one kilometre from the Gaza Strip border. Although the missiles mostly cause only material damage, and have an adverse psychological effect on residents of the town, two people were killed in a Qassam barrage at the end of June.

According to Ha’aretz, the new radar system fixes the position from which a rocket is fired and issues a warning. Using electro-optic sensors and advanced computers, it can take less than one second to pinpoint both the location of the launch and the point where the missile will land.

The army hopes to expand the capabilities of the system to enable an immediate response against those firing the rockets.

The system, developed by Israel’s Rafael Armament Development Authority, was reportedly used successfully - for the first time one week ago.