IDF’s new mortar warning system soon to be operational

At the Kerem Shalom border crossing, a shell of a mortar that was fired at Israel from Gaza. Credit: Israel Defense Forces.

( The Israel Defense Forces announced Sunday that its new tactical radar system, which aims to warn residents of communities along the Israel-Gaza border of incoming mortar fire, will become fully operational in October.

While the IDF’s Color Red alert warns of incoming rocket fire and gives Israeli residents of border communities about 15 seconds to reach shelters, it has proved less effective against mortar shells, which usually travel shorter distances at lower altitudes, resulting in residents often having no warning or only a few seconds’ warning of incoming mortars.

This prompted the IDF to develop the new system, which has undergone several successful tests. About 25 of the new radar systems have been deployed in the border communities, and the IDF hopes they will lengthen the warning time for incoming mortar fire by up to eight seconds, giving residents a full 15 seconds to reach shelter. But an IDF official told Israel Hayom that even with the new system, the timeframe for warnings is an educated guess, since it depends on the type of mortar and the location inside Gaza from where it is fired.

Posted on September 7, 2015 .