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IDF unveils special guided missile used in Lebanon, Gaza
By YAAKOV KATZ
01/08/2011
Tamuz missile based on Spike Long-Range Missile developed by Rafael, operated by elite Meitar unit in IDF Artillery Corps.
 
For years, Israel has been rumored to have secret missiles, but on Monday, for the first time, the IDF unveiled a special guided missile system that has seen successful action in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Called Tamuz, the missile is based on the Spike Long-Range Missile developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, and is operated by Meitar, an elite unit that operates under the Artillery Corps. The missile was opened to foreign exports a number of years ago.

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The missile has a range of 25 km. and can penetrate armored vehicles. It can come with a different anti-personnel warhead. The missile is launched from an armored personnel carrier from two launchers, each of which is capable of carrying three missiles. The APC can carry an additional four missiles inside.

The Tamuz uses an advanced electro-optic camera that transmits the image of its target back to operators inside the APC, who then manually drive it toward the target. Tamuz teams work closely with an artillery unit, which operates Hermes 450 reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles that provide the intelligence on the targets that are then attacked by the Tamuz missile.

“The missile provides us with the ability to accurately attack targets from a standoff position without needing to physically come into contact with the enemy,” explained Col. Sharon, commander of the Artillery Corps’ David’s Sling Formation.

The Tamuz was used extensively during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 when Meitar fired 600 missiles at Hezbollah targets. Nevertheless, the results were not satisfactory and a new operational doctrine was written for how to operate the missile in an urban terrain and against which targets. The missile was again used against Hamas targets during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in January 2009 with greater success.


The Artillery Corps established the guided weapons unit following the Yom Kippur War in 1973 when IDF tanks came under heavy antitank fire and the military had difficulty engaging Syria’s and Egypt’s tanks.

According to OC Artillery Corps Brig.-Gen.

David Suisa, the Tamuz missile is an example of the type of advanced and accurate firepower the corps can bring to a future battlefield.

“We are in a different place today in comparison to the past,” Suisa said. “In a future war, the Artillery Corps will operate advanced weapons with enormous firepower as shown by the combination of using the Tamuz and UAVs such as the Hermes.”

IDF sources said the decision to unveil the Tamuz came after long deliberations within the defense establishment. One of the reasons the missile was declassified was since the IDF has decided to upgrade Meitar’s capabilities with new weapons systems, and while it will still use the Tamuz, it will not buy more after the current arsenal is exhausted.

On Tuesday, the Artillery Corps will begin its summer draft. The corps noted a record-high demand among recruits to serve in artillery units, with each slot filled by a soldier who asked to serve in the corps. This is in comparison to a few years ago when only half the positions were filled by men who asked to serve in the corps.
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