Defense Technology International - September 2007 - (Page 46)
WEAPONS ANTI-ARMOR Hellﬁre II deposed PARS 3 LR from the Tiger helicopter in France and Australia. Milan Extended Response missile passed key ﬁring tests in October 2006. offering lock-on-before-launch and lock-on-after-launch options. Development began in late 2005, with a 26-month contract worth around $35 million. Turkey also has a requirement for a medium-range anti-tank system and multirole weapon. It may well be, though, that the days of the anti-tank missile are over. As the development of Hellﬁre shows, operators are looking for close-support weapons that can, in different versions and from different platforms, atJORIS JANSSEN LOK/DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY INT’L AUSTRALIAN DEFENSE DEPT. In Turkey, Roketsan is working on Umtas, a new heavy anti-tank missile, which is to be integrated in the Turkish armed forces’ A129T attack helicopter. Umtas will be 1.75 meters long, with a diameter of 160 mm. and launch weight of 35 kg.; range is 8 km. It will ﬁeld a tandem warhead and all-weather capability, due to an IIR head tack hard targets, vehicles or buildings, with accuracy and low collateral damage. Europe’s EMM is a step in that direction, but it remains to be seen if it fares better than Trigat and JCM against Hellﬁre. I With Andy Nativi in Genoa and Bill Sweetman in Minneapolis. IN THE CROSSHAIRS B.C. Kessner•TEL AVIV Israeli forces know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of anti-armor weapons. In a matter of weeks last summer, Hezbollah made anti-tank missiles (ATM) and other anti-armor munitions a lethal feature of the asymmetric battleﬁeld. Few Israelis can forget the images of smoldering tanks, armored personnel carriers and bulldozers of the IDF’s heralded Armored Corps. “One conclusion from the [Second Lebanon] War is that there are plenty of anti-tank missile squads out there, and it is not so much the kinds of weapons they have . . . the main problem is to ﬁnd them,” says Lt. Col. S, a Merkava Mk IV battalion commander in the war. IDF security protocol restricts the use of his full name. Lt. Col. S now heads a weapons division in the armor development branch. It is his job to make sure the problems encountered last year don’t recur. He points to training, tactics, new protective systems and a true assessment of what really happened in Lebanon as the keys to that effort. “It was pure guerrilla warfare on their side, the enemy without uniforms . . . and once we got in there the threat was all around . . . there was absolutely none of the on-line, direct engagement of the enemy,” S says. The IDF bypassed kilometers of villages, trying to get enough depth to help the air force curtail Hezbollah rocket and missile ﬁre into Israel. Most of the villages were empty, but in some, Hezbollah was hidden, waiting for the right time to emerge and ﬁre, he says. “They fought with a lot of patience . . . you only have to use your imagination and think of every building, bush, wall and group of trees . . . terrain they know because they live there. They didn’t have to move, they just picked the time to ﬁre and leave . . . defending against ATMs [in this situation] was practically impossible,” he adds. “The land forces this year and in the future will train a lot more than in the last six years.” Infantry, armor 46 DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL SEPTEMBER 2007 and engineers have to work together on tactics for controlling areas for the duration of the ﬁght if they are going to have a chance of stopping ATMs or rocket and ballistic missile ﬁre. “The best weapons, aircraft and artillery, cannot do this for you.” IDF armor fared better versus ATMs than many think, he says. “The results, in the long run, were not that bad. Compare the Yom Kippur War in 1973 to this war . . . less tanks were hit, less of those hit were penetrated and less soldiers were killed inside the turret.” According to S, Hezbollah’s best ATM was the Russian 9M133 Kornet. During the conﬂict, local media reported ﬁrings or discoveries in Hezbollah arsenals of European Milan ATMs, Russian Metis, Sagger AT-3 and Spigot AT-4 systems, and even U.S. TOW (Tubelaunched Optically-tracked Wire-guided) missiles. Hezbollah was creative in using the myriad systems, but in fact killed more infantry troops—in buildings, even in the open—with ATMs than armor troops. At the height of the war, there were press reports about how Hezbollah ﬁghters had learned to hit soft spots in Merkava tanks, and that the age of Israeli armor dominance was closing at the hands of ragtag ﬁghters using 20- or 30-year-old weapons to cripple multimillion-dollar tanks. S didn’t see anything in Lebanon to convince him of this. “It was more a matter of there being lots of them [ﬁghters and ATMs] on their own turf.” Israel plans to deploy the Rafael Trophy active protection system on tanks and other vehicles. The Merkava Mk IV is the ﬁrst vehicle to be protected, since it is still on the production line, and the initial operating capability is set for June 2008. IDF and Rafael won’t say how many Trophy systems are being procured, but sources here claim it is not a small number. “Protection on just a few [tanks] does nothing . . . it is a substantial order,” one source says. The idea eventually is to install Trophy on other armored vehicles, ones that could beneﬁt from it even more than the Mk IVs. Rafael is developing a lighter, less expensive system called Trophy 2 for armored vehicles in the 15-ton class, and expects the ﬁrst prototype to be ﬁelded in the middle of 2008. I www.aviationweek.com/dti
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