(NSI News Source Info) December 16, 2008: For over a decade, Israel has been improving its artillery-spotting radar to increase the speed with which incoming shells or rockets can be spotted, identified and tracked back to where they were fired from. This began with efforts to defend the southern town of Sderot, which has been the target of Palestinian rockets, from Gaza, for nearly a decade.
This effort sought to quickly calculate the trajectory of the incoming rocket (Palestinian Kassams from Gaza, or Russian and Iranian designs favored by Hizbollah in Lebanon) and determine if the rocket trajectory indicated it was going to land in an uninhabited area. If it was determined if the rocket was headed for an inhabited area, some warning (10-15 seconds), which enabled people a chance to duck into shelter. Over 90 percent of these rockets landed in uninhabited areas. The new version of this "fast spotter" radar is meant to provide sufficient time for nearby artillery to get a shell onto the launching area within 30 seconds. The Palestinians are on to this, and often set up the launchers with a timer, that will fire the rockets after the crew is safely away.
In response to that, Israel has missile armed UAVs circling over potential firing sites, looking for signs of launch activity. Ideally, these UAVs will fire a missile at Palestinians setting up rockets. But with the new radar, the UAV operators will be instantly alerted to a launch, and where it was.
The UAV can then hunt for the fleeing launching crew, and put a missile on them. The Palestinians have also tried to put their launchers in residential areas, to either discourage Israeli counter-fire, or produce dead civilians ("involuntary martyrs" is how the Islamic terrorists describe this) for propaganda purposes. The civilians know what's up here, and will flee if they see launchers being set up nearby.
But since most of this activity is at night, many Palestinians simply refuse to live near potential launching sites in northern Gaza. But the Palestinian terrorists are getting longer range rockets, that enable them to launch them from densely populated areas in central Gaza. So while the new radar helps, it is no panacea. The other side will always react to counter any new development.