Home Front Command tests new defensive measures

A series of test explosions carried out in the south of Israel was designed to evaluate future defensive solutions for the home front in the event of rocket strikes

Date: 24/02/2013, 7:09 PM     Author: Dana Petrov

In Israel’s far south, close to Eilat, the Home Front Command has conducted a range of test explosions over the course of recent months. The series of tests, conducted in conjunction with the Technology and Logistics Branch’s Quality Testing Department, was designed to test the effectiveness of various defensive solutions for rocket strikes.

The Home Front Command conducted some 40 controlled explosions, which tested the durability of a range of special windows for installation in apartment protected spaces (Israeli law requires all new residential buildings to contain a designated protected room in every apartment). Also tested were unique defensive solutions for various scenarios, including a special solution for older buildings without designated protected spaces.

For the purposes of the tests, the Home Front Command built two double-story concrete buildings to resemble older buildings containing rooms with walls and partitions made from cinder blocks. The buildings were fitted with windows by multiple companies that participated in the testing.

Head of Research and Development for the Home Front Command Lt. Col. Benny Barosh, the commander of the series of tests, emphasized that the adoption of all new measures requires approval from the Standards Institution of Israel.

Home Front Command tests new defensive measures

“In order to pass the test, the windows need to pass a number of engineering criteria,” Lt. Col. Barosh explained. “The windows must be able to be opened after the explosion in order to allow for evacuation if needed,” he said, “and not to cause an opening of more than five centimeters [during the blast], and that is in order to enable a tight seal against chemical and biological weapons”.

Among the tests conducted was that of a new type of steel window for apartment protected spaces. The airtight steel window allows for the installation of a normal glass window for the protected space to replace the armored windows currently in use. “Because the steel window provides the necessary level of impermeability, the internal window can be a regular window,” Lt. Col. Barosh explained. “During an emergency we will instruct the population to remove the glass windows, and the steel window will be used to both protect against blast and shrapnel as well as to seal the room again chemical and biological weapons.”

Another defensive solutions tested last week could assist many Israeli citizens living in older buildings built without apartment protected spaces. It is a metal box of five square-meters containing a CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) defense tent. The small apparatus can be folded away and positioned near the wall of a room to be opened in time of emergency.

Another kind of window tested was developed and designed specifically for medical centers as a joint initiative with the Ministry of Health. “The mechanisms in these windows resemble the ‘regular’ windows that we are testing, but they are narrower and longer, and that is in order to allow the patient lying on the bed to look out the window,” Lt. Col. Barosh said. “Because the sizes [of the windows] are different we are checking them individually. It is a shared effort between the Home Front Command and the Ministry of Health for the wellbeing of patients,” he said.