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Thursday, July 18, 2024

The Saturation Killing Myths

By a Special Correspondent

The recent attacks on Israel have shattered years of propaganda aimed at creating myths about the Iron Dome and the use of the Trophy system in Merkava tanks.

The Iron Dome is widely regarded as one of the best systems for handling low-flying threats, and over the past few months, there have been claims of its efficiency being higher than 90%. However, these claims are simply propaganda.

While the Iron Dome is indeed an exceptional system, it has never achieved interception rates as high as those claimed, and recent events with relative saturation, provide evidence of this.

Similar exaggerated efficiency rates have been advertised for Western systems in Ukraine as well. In reality, an air defence system capable of intercepting 50-70% of threats is considered to be quite effective. This efficiency can be further improved by integrating different layers of defence, although achieving a rate as high as 95%, as advertised, is unrealistic.

Some months ago, I wrote an article highlighting how Raytheon made false statements about its Patriot system performance during the two Iraq wars and in other countries. This is how it works, exactly because the militaries want to show power with false statements and, directly advertise systems from private companies.

Recently, a Ukrainian military official stated that not a single KH-22 missile was intercepted throughout the entire war. Naturally, this statement angered the companies involved.

The same situation occurred in Odessa, where the city had access to systems such as IRIS-T, Gepards, 2 divisions of BukM1-M2, and an upgraded S300 system. Despite these systems, they were unable to protect the city against attacks of P800, Kalibr missiles, and drones.

However, it should be acknowledged that these systems performed as well as could be expected given the options available on the market, especially against drones and anti-ship missiles.

The Russian systems also demonstrated poor performance in Ukraine, despite decades of propaganda boasting their capabilities. The rarity of interceptions of missiles like HIMARS, Harm missiles, Storm Shadow, and Scalp missiles only served to debunk the Russian propaganda further.

Inflated numbers are a common component of warfare, and every army engages in this kind of exaggeration.

It doesn’t imply that the systems themselves are ineffective. These systems represent the pinnacle of technological advancement, but their performance falls short of achieving rates above 90% when faced with the saturation of variable threats witnessed in Ukraine and now in Israel.

Defending an area becomes even more challenging and expensive when dealing with rockets or missiles smaller than 300mm. The saturation challenges the air defences to another level.

Regardless of success or failure, Israel remains the only country capable of intercepting these rockets at a good average rate.

The other Myth:

The Merkava is widely regarded as one of the best tanks available on the market, and personally, I am a fan of its troop-carrying capacity. However, like any tank, it is vulnerable to drones dropping grenades.

The Abrams will face the same vulnerability, as the T-90M, Leopard 2 and any other tanks deployed in Ukraine face similar challenges on the modern battlefield.

The myth of heavy and invulnerable tanks no longer exists. Active Protection Systems (APS), including Trophy, are still under development and have not been witnessed in action in Ukraine or elsewhere.

I have never observed these systems in action on a battlefield, where every myth is debunked when confronted with the realities of real warfare…

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