More than a week after a U.S.-Egyptian brokered ceasefire brought a fragile peace to Gaza, military analysts are busily assessing the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Their goal: Apply lessons from the eight-day battle to weaponry still in development.
Israel’s frequent conflicts with its Arab neighbors have historically been proving grounds for the latest in battlefield technology. Arab-Israeli wars inspired the first operational aerial drones, radar-evading stealth warplanes and projectile-defeating armor. All are now staples of the world’s leading militaries.
Analysts now say this recent fighting could spur the proliferation of highly accurate, fast-firing defenses against rocket barrages, a threat that has long flummoxed military planners. The solution could be inspired by Israel’s now-famous Iron Dome, a rocket-intercepting missile system that shot down hundreds of Hamas’ rockets before they could strike Israeli settlements.
“Following the campaign, other nations are expressing interest in this capability,” says Tamir Eshel, editor of the Website, Defense Update, who is also an Israeli defense consultant.
The United States, however, has balked at the expense of using missiles to shoot down missiles. The Defense Department could copy Israel’s rocket-defense strategy but with a potentially cheaper twist: “directed energy” weapons, based on lasers.