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A Deadly Arsenal: Weapons that Fuel the Israel-Hamas War

Introduction

“We are at war and we will win it,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said in a televised statement on 7th of October, announcing a call-up of hundreds of thousands of Israeli military reservists. In the early morning, a barrage of at least 5000 rockets launched by the Hamas from Gaza strip on Jerusalem, leaves more than 200 civilians dead and around 1500 wounded.

The roots of the latest fighting predate the establishment of the state of Israel 75 years ago and the founding of Hamas in 1987. Palestinians and Israelis alike consider the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea as their own. Hamas — which has been designated by the United States as a terrorist organization since 1997 has controlled the densely populated Gaza strip since 2006, has said the aim of attack was “to free Palestinian prisoners, stop Israeli aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque, and to break the siege on Gaza.”

This image shows the Israel defence forces commandos.
Image credits: Israel National news

What was the Israel’s military objective in Gaza? What Arsenal does Israel have?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has vowed to end Hamas rule in the Gaza strip. Now the Israel will no longer accept Hamas as a “sovereign entity in the Gaza strip”. Also, Israel’s objective is to collapse Hamas military and governmental capabilities and ensure that they will no longer be capable to revive themselves or raise their voice against Israel. But the question is, what arsenal will make Israel a cut above over Hamas weapons? Let’s discuss them in details along with their capabilities :

This image shows the Iron Dome defence system
Image credits: Business insider

1) Iron Dome Defence System

Let’s begin with the most praised defence system which saved the Jerusalem from being a barren land by Hamas mainly “Iron dome defence system”

Iron Dome is a mobile all-weather air defence system developed by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries. It is designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 to 70 kilometres (2.5 to 43 mi) away and whose trajectory would take them to an Israeli populated area.

The system consists of three main components:

  • A detection and tracking radar system that detects and tracks incoming threats.
  • A battle management and weapon control system that calculates the trajectory of incoming threats and determines whether they pose a threat to populated areas.
  • A missile firing unit that launches interceptor missiles to destroy incoming threats.

Iron Dome is highly effective, with a reported interception rate of over 90%. It has been used to protect Israeli civilians from rocket attacks from Gaza and Lebanon, and has been credited with saving countless lives.

This image shows the Atmos 2000 Self-Propelled Howitzer
Image credits: Military leaks

2) Atmos 2000 Self-Propelled Howitzer

The ATMOS 2000 is a 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzer system manufactured by Israeli military manufacturer Soltam Systems, now part of Elbit Systems. It was developed as a private venture in 2000 and first revealed to the public in 1999.

The ATMOS 2000 is a highly mobile and versatile artillery system mounted on a truck chassis, which gives it a high degree of cross-country mobility. It is also equipped with an automatic loading system, which allows it to achieve a high rate of fire of between 4 and 9 rounds per minute.

The ATMOS 2000 offers a number of advantages over traditional towed howitzers, including:

  1. Increased mobility: The truck-mounted chassis allows the ATMOS 2000 to quickly reposition itself to support advancing or retreating forces.
  2. Higher rate of fire: The automatic loading system allows the ATMOS 2000 to fire more rounds per minute than towed howitzers, which can be critical in suppressing enemy fire or supporting rapid assaults.
  3. Increased range: The ATMOS 2000 can fire ERFB-BB projectiles to a range of 41 km, which is significantly greater than the range of most towed howitzers.
  4. Versatility: The ATMOS 2000 can fire a wide variety of ammunition, including high-explosive, smoke, and illumination rounds. This makes it suitable for a wide range of missions, from fire support to battlefield illumination.
This image shows the Merkava tank
Image credits: Atalayar

3) Merkava Tank

The Merkava is a series of main battle tanks (MBTs) used by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). It is the backbone of the IDF’s Armored Corps. The tank began development in 1970, and its first generation, the Merkava Mark 1, entered official service in 1979. Four main variants have been deployed, with the Merkava Mark 5 being the latest version.

Some of the arrangement that gives the Merkava a number of advantages over other MBTs, including:

  • Increased survivability: The Merkava’s rear-mounted engine and forward-facing troop compartment have proven to be highly effective in combat. The rear-mounted engine has protected the crew from numerous frontal hits, and the forward-facing troop compartment has allowed crews to evacuate quickly and safely from damaged tanks.
  • Improved firepower: The Merkava’s main gun is mounted in a fully enclosed turret, which gives the crew a high degree of protection from enemy fire. The turret also has a wide traverse arc, which allows the tank to engage targets from all directions.
  • Increased mobility: The Merkava is powered by a powerful diesel engine that gives it a high top speed and good cross-country mobility.

The Merkava has seen extensive combat service in a number of conflicts, including the 1982 Lebanon War, the 2006 Lebanon War, the 2014 Gaza War, and the 2023 Hamas war as well. It has proven to be a highly effective MBT, and it is considered to be one of the best in the world.

This image shows the Elbit hermes 450 drones
Image credits: Israel-Weapons

4) Elbit Hermes 450 Drones

The Elbit Hermes 450 is an Israeli medium-sized multi-payload unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for tactical long endurance missions. It has an endurance of over 20 hours, with a primary mission of reconnaissance, surveillance and communications relay.

Payload options include electro-optical/infrared sensors, communications and electronic intelligence, synthetic-aperture radar/ground-moving target indication, electronic warfare, and hyperspectral sensors.

The Hermes 450 is a mature and combat-proven UAV with over 300,000 operational flight hours and a class-leading safety and reliability record. It is a highly versatile and capable platform that can be used for a wide range of missions, including:

  • Reconnaissance and surveillance: The Hermes 450 can be used to provide real-time intelligence on enemy positions, troop movements, and other activities of interest.
  • Target acquisition and designation: The Hermes 450 can be used to identify and designate targets for other strike assets, such as artillery, air strikes, or ground forces.
  • Communications relay: Also used to extend the range of communications between ground forces and command centers.
  • Electronic warfare: The Hermes 450 can equip a variety of electronic warfare sensors and payloads to disrupt or disable enemy communications and electronic systems.
This image shows the KFIR Fighter jet
Image credits: Wikipedia

5) KFIR Fighter Jet

The IAI KFIR is an Israeli all-weather multirole combat aircraft. It is based on the French Dassault Mirage 5, but with Israeli avionics and an Israeli-built version of the General Electric J79 turbojet engine. The KFIR entered service with the Israeli Air Force (IAF) in 1975 and has seen extensive combat use in a number of conflicts, including the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1982 Lebanon War, the 1991 Gulf War, and the 2023 Hamas war.

The KFIR is a highly capable fighter aircraft with a good balance of performance and affordability. It is equipped with a variety of weapons, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and bombs. It also has a good radar system and electronic warfare suite.

Some of the capabilities of KFIR jet include:

  • A more powerful engine, which gives the KFIR a better rate of climb and top speed.
  • A more advanced radar system, which gives the KFIR a better ability to detect and track enemy aircraft.

A more comprehensive electronic warfare suite, which gives the KFIR a better ability to defend itself against enemy radar and missile threats.

This image shows the Hamas millitants
Image credits: Fox news

Who is Hamas, and what weapons they have against Israel?

Hamas, a militant group founded in 1987 during the first Palestinian Intifada, wants all the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan, which includes the modern state of Israel as well as the occupied West Bank and Gaza. It has an armed wing called the Izz-el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, which has sent gunmen and suicide bombers into Israel and fired thousands of rockets and mortar shells. Hamas characterizes its armed activities as resistance against Israeli occupation.

Hamas is part of a regional alliance comprising Iran, Syria and the Shi’ite Islamist group Hezbollah in Lebanon, which all broadly oppose U.S. policy in the Middle East and Israel. It has received money, weapons and training from Iran, but also has a fund-raising network around the globe.

Now let’s discuss what Arsenal does Hamas have in against of Israel :-

This image shows the M302 Rockets that are made in syria.
Image credits: Wall street journal

1) M302 Rockets (Made in Syria)

The M302 rocket, also known as the Khaibar-1 or R-160, is a Syrian-made 302 mm unguided artillery rocket. It is a long-range rocket with a range of up to 160 kilometers (99 miles). The M302 rocket is a solid-propellant rocket that is launched from a four- or six-tube launcher. It has a fixed fin configuration and a high-explosive warhead. The M302 rocket is relatively accurate for an unguided rocket, and used to attack both military and civilian targets.

Syria has provided Hamas and Hezbollah with M302 rockets, which they are using to attack Israel. Even these Rockets are launched very firstly by Hamas from Gaza strip to Jerusalem which are tackled by Israel’s Iron Dome Defence system very tactically.

This image shows the 120 MM mortar
Image credits: business insider

2) 120 MM Motar

The 120 mm mortar is a smoothbore, muzzle-loading, high-angle-of-fire weapon that provides indirect fire support to infantry and other ground forces. It is a versatile and portable weapon that can fire a variety of ammunition, including high-explosive (HE), smoke, and illumination rounds.

The 120 mm mortar is a key weapon in the infantry arsenal, providing a number of critical capabilities:

  • High-angle-of-fire: The mortar’s high-angle-of-fire allows it to engage targets that are behind cover or in defilade, making it ideal for urban and mountainous environments.
  • Accuracy: The mortar is a relatively accurate weapon, even when fired from long distances, making it effective against a variety of targets, including personnel, fortifications, and armored vehicles.
  • Versatility: The mortar can fire a variety of ammunition, giving commanders the flexibility to tailor fire support to the specific mission.
  • Portability: The mortar is relatively lightweight and portable, making it easy to move and deploy in a variety of terrain and operational environments.

The 120 mm mortar is used by Hamas against Israel’s Atmos 2000 and giving the Israel Defence forces infantry a tough challenge in invading the Gaza strip.

this image shows the Konkurs ATGM
image credits: Wikipedia

3) Konkurs ATGM

The Konkurs is a Soviet second-generation, SACLOS wire-guided anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system designed to engage armored vehicles fitted with explosive reactive armour (ERA), light armored vehicles, fortifications and engineer structures at ranges of 75 to 4,000 meters, day or night.

The Konkurs system consists of the 9M113 Konkurs missile, the 9P135 launcher, and the 9Sh119 sight. The missile is a solid-fueled rocket with a tandem warhead that is capable of defeating armor up to 800 mm thick. The launcher is a tripod-mounted unit that can be fired from the ground or from a variety of vehicles.

Hamas has used the Konkurs system, a highly effective anti-tank weapon, to stop Israel’s tanks in the border areas. The Syrian Civil War and the War in Donbas have also seen its use. This versatile and portable system can engage a variety of targets at a range of distances.

This image shows the AL zouari bomber drone
Image credits: Military leaks

4) Al Zouari Bomber Drone

The Palestinian militant group Hamas developed the Al Zouari bomber drone, a suicide drone named after Mohamed Zouari, a Tunisian engineer assassinated by the Israeli Mossad in 2016. Zouari is credited with assisting Hamas in the development of its drone program.

The Al Zouari bomber drone is a small, propeller-driven aircraft that can carry a payload of up to 10 kilograms of explosives. The drone has a range of up to 100 kilometers and can be flown at altitudes of up to 3,000 meters. It is guided by GPS and can be programmed by the operator to fly to a specific target and detonate its explosives.

The Al Zouari bomber drone was first used in combat during the 2014 Gaza War. Hamas used the drones to attack Israeli military targets, including tanks and armored vehicles. The drones also caused damage to Israeli infrastructure, including power lines and water facilities.

This image shows the FAJR-5
world defence news

5) FAJR-5

The Fajr-5 is an Iranian 333 mm long-range multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). It was developed during the 1990s and has since been exported to various armed actors in the Middle East. The Fajr-5 is a relatively accurate rocket for an unguided weapon, and used to attack both military and civilian targets.

The Fajr-5 launcher fires four 6.48 meter long, 333 millimeter-calibre Fajr-5 artillery rockets, with a range of 75 kilometers (50 mi), weighing 915 kilograms each and carrying 175-kg fragmentation warheads with 90 kg of high explosive (HE). Most Fajr-5 rockets are unguided; in 2017 Iran introduced a variant, the Fajr-5C, which adds GPS guidance.

The Fajr-5 has been used in a number of conflicts, including the 2006 Lebanon War, the Syrian Civil War, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It has also been used by Hezbollah and Hamas to attack targets in Israel.

This image shows the Gaza map
Image credits: BBC

What Can Be The Conclusion of This War?

Initially when the war started with the first attack by Hamas on 7th October, the Hamas had no clear intention for doing this attack except the revenge for the Israel’s raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque which is the 3rd holiest place for Islam. But eventually when the Hamas started to attack on civilians and keeping them as hostile, Hamas claimed that their primary motive is to take revenge for there decade’s old rivalry with Israel and to conquer it.

Israel is prudently defending itself and tactically taking the war in its favour. Now the only thing that Israel can do is to make the Hamas enfeeble so that they can’t be revived again, like the same thing that Russia did with Ukraine. The end result can be tactical success by Israel that will leave thousand’s of separatists dead and homeless. The Israel can win the war but it can’t establish a stable political structure or presidency in Gaza as the people of Gaza will not accept Israel’s rule over them.

But on the other hand, if other countries gets directly jump in this war in the favour of Hamas, then the Israel will only have the option to escalate the bombing in Gaza to take down Hamas and establish a full control on Gazan’s even if they didn’t want as this will be the only way for Israel to show it’s power and supremacy.

If we take a look towards technological supremacy in the field of weaponization, then surely the Israel will going to win this time. The most of the weapons that Hamas is using are outdated in comparison of Israel arsenal, besides this the Israel is also blocking the arms and ammunition supply to Gaza from Iran and Syria, which is currently the biggest support to Hamas.

“However, despite the apparent advantage of Israel in terms of military technology and resources, the conflict with Hamas is far from being resolved, unless a political solution is reached that addresses the root causes of the dispute and ensures the rights and dignity of both peoples.

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Akshit Sharma

A defence aspirant who likes analyzing trends and developments in the arena of defence and geopolitics. Open to constructive criticism and valuable suggestions.

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