The Israel Defense Forces artillery corps revealed the previously classified Tamuz missile for the first time Monday, which was used in the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
The Tamuz missile has a range of up to 25 kilometers and is equipped with an electro-optic sensor that allows its operators to guide it to its target by watching it on a screen while it hovers to its target.
In fact, the Tamuz missile, which is operated by the David's Sling Formation in the artillery corps, has been used by the IDF since the early 1980s, but only now it has been decided to formally publicize it, following its use in the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead.
The IDF also revealed Monday its use of the unmanned aircraft, also operated by the artillery corps.
The IDF decided to have Rafael Advanced Defense Systems develop the Tamuz missile as part of the lessons of the Agranat Commission following the Yom Kippur War in 1973. The commission decided that the IDF must develop the abilities of anti-tank missiles, as protection against the armored weapons and anti-tank missiles of the Arab armies.
With the change in the nature of the threats facing the IDF and the decreasing likelihood of a war against an ordinary army, the Tamuz missile was made suitable for action against additional targets, like the military posts of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Qassams fired from the Gaza Strip. Among other things, the missile was fitted with a warhead with reduced explosive material, which can hit small targets, such as a Qassam squad, without causing additional damage.
The first wide-range military use of the Tamuz missile was during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, during which more than 600 missiles of this sort were fired, mainly to assist land troops. Despite the missile's precision in hitting targets, post-war conclusions led the IDF to decide that at least half of the time, the use of such a precise and expensive missile was not justified. Each Tapuz missile costs about NIS 500,000, so in other words, during the Second Lebanon War, about NIS 300 million worth of missiles were used.
The advantage of the Tamuz over the use of precise air weaponry is that the crew is available to operate armored personnel carriers and remain in the field beside the combat division during the battle. This is considered favorable over air attacks which are not always immediately available. In order to direct the Tamuz missile, its operators rely on data from a wide range of sources, starting with the unit's observation teams, other patrol units, intelligence information and observatory patrol of planes, helicopters and unmanned aircraft.
The artillery corps also publicized that it uses large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) of Hermes 450 sort (produced by Elbit Systems), to locate ground fire targets and to discover enemy formations and threats to the ground forces. The UAV are used by artillery staff, together with air forces operators and they serve mainly the division headquarters, regional commands and the General Staff.
International media sources reported that the Hermes 450 is also equipped with precision missiles and are used by security systems to carry out targeted killings and for targeting Qassam-launching sqauds in the Gaza Strip. In addition, artillery corps also operate the Sky Rider Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles which provides visual information to ground troop commanders in real time.