Armor: Israeli Secret Weapon Revealed


August 3, 2015: In June 2015 Israel declassified the fact that in the 1980s, as it began replacing its 500 American M48 and M60 tanks with the locally made Merkava, several dozen of the M60s were converted to ATGM (anti-tank guided missiles) carriers. These vehicles were called Pereh and looked like a regular M60. But the 105mm gun was a fake and the rear of the turret (the “bustle”) which normally contained 105mm ammo, electronics and some mechanical gear actually carried twelve Spike ATGMs. These are fire and forget missiles. The operator simply aims his sight at a target, fires the missile and the missile keeps homing in on the target even if it moves. Thus the operator can quickly (within a minute) fire several missiles at as many different targets. The 1980s Pereh Spike had a range of 2,500 meters while by the end of the century a 4,000 meter version was available.

Pereh would seek high ground and watch over the advance of gun-armed tanks below. Pereh could quickly supply a lot of additional firepower for any of the gun armed tanks that encountered a lot of resistance. Spike was effective against bunkers and enemy ATGMs as well. Pereh was used in combat several times and some pictures got into circulation but the Israeli censors managed to keep Pereh from getting a great deal of media exposure do potential enemies were generally unaware of it.

Israel has long put obsolete tanks to new uses. Usually that mean converting them to IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) or engineer vehicles. These projects were usually given a lot of publicity but Pereh was kept quiet because that was possible and surprise is a potent battlefield asset if you can get it.








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