Reports of successful portable guided weapons use both in Iraq and Lebanon are mounting.
In Iraq, shoulder fired SAM use is steadily increasing with expected results.
Israeli attack of Lebanon yet again displayed the incredible effectiveness of modern RPGs/ATGMs against the latest generations of MBTs.
RPG-29 use has been covered in other threads, and I would like to focus on the use of modern ATGMs such as Kornet, Metis and Milan.
In a garden lay eight Kornet anti-tank rockets, described by Brigadier Mickey Edelstein, the commander of the Nahal troops who took Ghandouriyeh,
as "some of the best in the world".
In the last two days alone, these missiles have killed seven soldiers and damaged three Israeli-made Merkava tanks — mountains of steel that are
vaunted as symbols of Israel's military might, the army said. It said Hezbollah has fired Russian-made Metis-M anti-tank missiles and owns
European-made Milan missiles.
We will never know the true extent of Israeli armor losses in Lebanon. Estimates range from 20 to over 50 of various armor vehicles destroyed.
The exact numbers are not really relevant since the result is apparent, modern ATGMs were able to repeatedly defeat the latest generation of Merkava
In order to concentrate on the political leverage the use of modern guided weapons provide and not on where ever they performed as stated, here are
One of the major military surprises of the fighting in Lebanon has been the apparent vulnerability of Israeli armor to Hezbollah anti-tank
No detailed figures are available and it is clear that many more tanks may have been hit than actually destroyed.
But a significant proportion of Israeli casualties have been among tank crews.
It is Hezbollah's skillful use of these weapons - in particular, wire-guided and laser-guided anti-tank missiles, with double, phased explosive
warheads and a range of about two miles, or three kilometers - that has caused most of the casualties to Israeli forces.
Hezbollah's anti-tank missiles, designed to penetrate armor, have damaged or destroyed Israeli vehicles, including its most modern, the Merkava, on
about 20 percent of their hits, Israeli commanders at the front said.
The fact of the matter, is that the use of modern anti-tank missiles allowed Hezbollah to halt Israeli attack, and with out armor support IDF infantry
immediately finds it self in a disadvantage and is forced to face well planned and executed Hezbollah ambushes.
The situation is so serious that today Israel sent an official complaint to Moscow, specifically on ATGMs sold to Iran/Syria, and their apparent use
So we have a situation when a well trained MILITIA armed with modern ATGMs was able to repel an attack from a the most powerful regional army armed
with the latest technology.
In this case, the David was Hezbollah and the rock was the ATGM, and the Goliath was Israel with its tanks. Naturally this is not the first case of
successful use of ATGMs in the Middle East. In previous clashes both sides proved time and time again how effective an ATGM really is against MBTs,
and every new generation of ATGMs shows just how far that gap has grown.
Other then professional armies, various factions through out the world used ATGMs in limited ambush engagements for as long as they existed, but this
time Hezbollah proved that a wide scale deployment of current generation of ATGMs by a small but dedicated force can stop a professional army in its
tracks, thus making it an incredibly powerful force multiplier, both militarily and politically.
The future of ATGMs will bring an even more powerful force multiplier. Composite materials, advanced sensors and electronics are still not fully
utilized in the current generation of portables. It is only a matter of time when technological and warhead design advances will merge ATGMs with
shoulder fired SAMs creating a dual purpose portable weapon, in concept similar to 9K112 Kobra (AT-8 SONGSTER) and other dual purpose guided missiles,
all at a fraction of current cost.
Miniaturization of guided weapons will continue to evolve into an ever increasing family of UAV mounted systems, which are naturally much cheaper to
acquire and operate then a traditional air force. As Israeli/Lebanese conflict displayed, Hezbollah already successfully used a UAV targeting drone
to assist anti-ship missile tracking, and executed a successful strike against a modern ship.
IMHO the future of portable guided weapons lies in their abundant use by powers with limited resources. Considering the success of Hezbollah, other
factions will be lining up to acquire various portable guided weapons by any means necessary, and it will greatly change the nature of geo-politics.
[edit on 19-8-2006 by iskander]