Tamuz missile launcher_311.
(photo credit: Yaakov Katz)
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
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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
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
“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.
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
David Suisa, the Tamuz missile is an example of the type
of advanced and accurate firepower the corps can bring to a future
“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.
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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