Armor: More Russian Missiles for Hizbollah


February27, 2007: If Israeli troops move into southern Lebanon again, they will apparently find, as they did last Summer, lots of late model Russian missiles aimed at them. That's because Syria has placed an order for several thousand 9M133 Kornet and 9M131 Metis 2 anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM). Israel tried to persuade the Russians to back off. But the money was too good for the Russians to pass up. Iran is supplying the cash. Syria gets to keep some of the missiles, and slips the rest across the border to Hizbollah. It's a win-win-win-win-lose (Russia-Syria-Iran-Hizbollah-Israel) situation.

In 2006, Israeli troops found Hizbollah equipped with many modern Russian ATGMs. Three post-Cold War Russian missile systems were found in large numbers. These were the 9M111 Fagot, which has a 25 pound missile fired from a 24 pound launch unit for up to 2,000 meters. Then there was the 9M133 Kornet, a replacement for the 9M111. This is laser guided missile with a range of 5,000 meters. The launcher has a thermal sight for use at night or in fog. The missile's warhead can penetrate 1200mm of armor, which meant that the front and side armor of the Israeli Merkava tank was vulnerable. The missile weighs 18 pounds and the launcher 42 pounds. Then there was the 9M131 Metis 2, which is a 30 pound missile, with a 1,500 meter range. It is fired from a 35 pound control unit, that has a thermal sight.

Missiles and launch units were found in bombed out buildings last Summer. The 9M131 can be fired from inside buildings. The missiles were used to take long range shots at Israeli infantry, and tanks. Russia had been selling these new missile systems to Syria and Iran for several years, and this was the first real combat test of these systems. A few Israeli tanks were hit, but most of the missiles have been fired at Israeli infantry, causing over a hundred casualties.




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