Israel has announced that within a few years it will have a remote firing missile system that could precisely hit targets anywhere in the entire region. Intended to counter Hezbollah’s vast arsenal of mid to long range rockets, at least one military analyst thinks Israel’s new missiles are a significant game-changer.
The Defense Ministry announced on Monday that it signed a deal with Israel Military Industries (IMI) for surface-to-surface missiles that could hit targets from a distance of 18-93 miles. The exact cost of the new system was not disclosed but the ministry said it was “hundreds of millions of shekels” and would be delivered “in a few years.”
“This precision firepower significantly improves the IDF’s capabilities and enables precise impact on remote launch, immediate availability and low mission cost compared to other combat systems,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“We are acquiring and developing precision fire systems that will enable the IDF… within a few years to cover any point in the region,” added Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Hadashot news reported that among the missiles purchased were multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) with a range of 25 miles. Able to fire 18 rockets per minute with a 44-lb warhead, the rockets are precision-guided by GPS.
It was also reported that the Defense Ministry is interested in acquiring Extended Range Artillery (EXTRA) missiles that have a maximum range of 93 miles and can carry a 265-lb warhead. The EXTRA missiles will cost an estimated $300,000 per rocket.
Another missile system being considered is the Predator Hawk, a tactical ballistic missile with a range of 186 miles.
A long-range missile system has long been considered by the IDF. More accurate than artillery and without the risk of sending a human pilot into harm’s way, remotely fired missiles are intended to counter Hezbollah’s reported arsenal of hundreds of thousands of low-tech rockets.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has been proposing a “missile corp” since he first entered the Knesset as a member 15 years ago. Yediot, a Hebrew language news service, reported in January that Liberman approved a half billion shekel budget to jumpstart the missile program.
In an article published on Wednesday titled “Analysis: IDF’s New Missile Corps Will Revolutionize How Israel Wages War,” Yaakov Katz, defense analyst and editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, praised the new IDF initiative.
“Years from now, it will also likely be looked at as one of the most significant decisions Avigdor Liberman will have made as Israel’s defense minister,” Katz wrote .
Katz explained that use of the missiles will free up the Air Force for more strategic missions. The missiles will fall under the purview of the IDF ground forces allowing for more effective coordination with the missile corp.
“Considering how Hezbollah and Hamas operate, this is a huge advantage,” Katz wrote. “It will take some time before we see these rockets in action, but one thing can be said about Liberman’s decision: Israel is once again revolutionizing modern warfare.”