In an effort to improve its accuracy in urban warfare, the Israel Air Force is
looking to purchase precision rockets for its helicopters, which are frequently
used for airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.
IAF sources said the requirement
for a guided rocket was issued in an attempt to improve its level of accuracy
and to lower costs by moving away from using the expensive Hellfire
The new rocket would be used by the IAF’s attack
helicopter fleet comprising of Apache and Cobras.
“Our enemies hid inside
urban settings and we need to be as accurate as possible in our operations,” a
senior IAF officer explained.
The IAF is looking at Elbit Systems’ Guided
Advanced Tactical Rocket (GATR), which uses a laser homing seeker to achieve
accuracy against stationary and moving targets. Pilots using the GATR can
lock onto targets prior to launch at ranges of 1-8 km.
possibility would be to purchase a rocket from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems’
family of Spike anti-tank guided missiles, which can also be launched from
helicopters. The Spike Extended Range, for example, has a range of up to 8 km.
like the GATR, but has the ability to update and switch targets after
The IAF requirement for accurate rockets comes as the IDF moves
forward with plans to equip its ground forces with precision rockets as
well. In July, the IDF issued a tender to Israeli industries for rocket
systems, which it believes will increase its strike capabilities ahead of a
future conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon or Hamas in the Gaza
Under the IDF’s plan, the Artillery Corps, which will operate the
rockets, will establish a number of new rocket battalions within its various
Behind the requirement to obtain longer-range rockets with
great precision is an overall IDF desire to take some of the load off the air
force and allow it to focus strictly on strategic targets deep in enemy
With the new rocket systems, the IDF will create a division of
responsibility between the Artillery Corps and IAF to clarify who is responsible
for which targets and at which ranges.