IDF issues tender for rocket systems

Move believed to increase army's strike capabilities ahead of a future conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

By
July 24, 2011 01:52
2 minute read.
Mortar rockets on display

Mortar rockets on display (R) 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ali Jasim)

 
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The army is moving forward with plans to equip its ground forces with precision rockets, and issued a tender last month to Israeli industries for rocket systems which it believes will increase its strike capabilities ahead of a future conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Under the IDF’s plan, the Artillery Corps, which will operate the rockets, will establish a number of new rocket battalions within its various brigades.

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The tender was issued to leading Israeli defense firms, including Israel Military Industries, Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

One of the systems under review is the Accular, developed by IMI. The Accular is a 60 millimeter autonomous surface-to-surface missile, guided by a GPS system that puts it within 10 meters of a target.

The missile is fired from a new launcher developed by IMI called Lynx, which is designed to fire a variety of rockets – 160 mm., 122 mm. and 300 mm. The launcher is loaded on the back of a truck and can be reloaded in under 10 minutes.

The IDF is also looking at EXTRA, under development by IMI, which has a range of 150 kilometers and carries a 120 kilogram warhead. Both systems would be operated by the Artillery Corps and would be used to attack static targets like radar stations and military bases.

“Our precision rocket capabilities will grow significantly in the coming years,” a senior Ground Forces Command officer said on Thursday.

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Behind the requirement to obtain longer-range rockets with great precision is an overall IDF desire to take some of the load off the Israel Air Force and allow it to focus strictly on strategic targets deep in enemy territory.

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.

Another missile under review is the Jumper, developed by IAI, which can function as an autonomous artillery system for infantry forces operating behind enemy lines. The system includes a 3x3 canister – called a “hive” by IAI - that can be deployed in enemy territory. Soldiers, operating a significant distance away, can then insert coordinates of their desired target and fire one of the eight missiles inside the canister.

The missiles then “jump” out of the vertical launch hive to precisely strike targets at ranges of up to 50 km.

The system’s autonomous capability enables troops to distance themselves from the missile launcher, whose position will likely be compromised after it fires at the enemy.

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