Israel’s conflict with middle eastern counties, that is, the Arab world has been one of the most deadly conflicts of recent times. Multiple wars and skirmishes later, there is still no sign of peaceful resolution. But one thing has changed, over the decades, Israel has transformed itself into a major military power and has kept on increasing its technological gap vis-a-vis its adversaries. 5 Weapons because of which no Middle-Eastern country wants to go to war with Israel.
The Spike Missile is Israel’s one-design-fits-all anti-tank guided missile system. The Spike SR (Short Range) system is a single-shot, disposable missile system like the old American LAW. Spike has a thermal seeker, tandem shaped charge warhead (for defeating reactive armor), and a range of 800 meters.
Spike is mounted on everything from ground vehicles to Seraph (Apache) helicopters, naval vessels, and drones. It can be used against tanks and armored vehicles, ships, aircraft, and even individual high-value terrorist targets. Larger versions of the Spike are essentially the same missile, scaled up. Spike MR, similar in class to the AmericanJavelin, has a range of 2,500 meters. Spike LR, similar to the American TOW-IIB, has a slightly longer range at 4,000 meters. Finally, Spike ER is similar in characteristics to the American Hellfire. A non-line of sight version of Spike, Spike NLOS, trails a fiber-optic cable that allows the operator to seek out and destroy targets to a range of 25 kilometers. Spike essentially makes it very difficult to mount an effective armor assault against Israel.
Israel has a tendency to rename American weapons systems, and this is one case in which the new name is much cooler than the old one. The “Smasher” rocket launcher is actually the American M270 MRLS. A mainstay of the U.S. Army’s artillery branch, the M270 was developed in the 1970s as part of the “Big 5” of weapons systems that would transform the Army. Based on a modified M2 Bradley chassis, the“Smasher” carries twelve 227-millimeter rockets. A three-vehicle battery can send 23,184 cluster munitions downrange in one minute, saturating at one kilometer by one-kilometer area. Israel has 48 “Smasher” systems. Currently, Israel is limited to rockets with a 40kilometer range, but new 150-kilometer range rockets are in the pipeline. Such rockets will give Israeli artillery, positioned in Haifa, the ability to strike Damascus. The brainchild of General Israel Tal, chief of the Armored Forces, the Merkava is Israel’s first and only indigenous main battle tank.
The tank was specially designed for Israelitank doctrine: low to the ground, with a powerful gun, the Merkava even had the engine placed in the front of the tank to provide protection to the crew. Combined with heavily sloped composite armor, Merkava made an excellent defensive tank, well suited to defending against Egyptian armored formations on the Sinai or Syrian forces on the Golan Heights. Early versions of the Merkava had the same British-designed 105-millimeter main gun as the initial versions of the American M1 Abrams. Newer versions are armed with a locally produced 120 mm smoothbore gun. The Merkava’s main gun is accurate to at least 2,000 meters with High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) and Armored Piercing (AP) rounds. Conventional rounds are supplemented by the LAHAT missile; capable of being fired from the barrel of the Merkava, the laser-guidedLAHAT can engage targets out to 9,000 meters. Merkava tanks were some of the first armored vehicles to be equipped with active protection systems against guided missiles.
Israel has built just over 2,000 Merkavasin all versions, with 660 of the latest Mark IV built. The quantity and quality of Merkava make Israel's armor force one of the strongest in the world. The Israeli Air Force was founded on May 28, 1948, exactly two weeks after the founding of the State of Israel. A motley force of veteran World War II pilots and obsolete aircraft, it has matured into one of the most powerful air forces in the world. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has been instrumental in Israel’s defense, providing air superiority over Israel, close air support over Israeli ground forces, and performing strikes against targets deep in the enemy’s homeland. Over the past three decades, it has also taken on a counterterrorism role, using airstrikes to assassinate terrorist leaders and destroy caches of weapons from Tunis to Sudan.
The IAF has an estimated 648 aircraft of all types, manned and serviced by 35,000 active-duty personnel. An additional 24,500 reservists can be called up during wartime. A total mobilization, the IAF enjoys a comfortable ratio of 91 personnel for every one aircraft, far above the Egyptian Air Force’s 30 to one ratio and the Royal Saudi Air Force’s 38 to one. It has around 58 F-15 Eagle, 25 F-15E StrikeEagle, 223 F-16 Fighting Falcon, and 9 F35 Lightning II with 50 more on order. An important thing to note is that these American fighter jets are enhanced by Israel with many indigenous systems and weapons, more aligned to its requirement. The Jericho III is the third missile to serve as Israel’s land-based nuclear deterrent. The Jericho III is believed to have a range between 4,800 and 6,000 kilometers and is capable of carrying a 1,000-kilogram warhead payload. A range of 4,800 kilometers would enable it to strike from Morocco to eastern India, while a 6,500kilometer range would enable it to target as far as western China.
The missile is reportedly solid-fueled, meaning it can be launched with minimum preparation, and reportedly based in silos capable of resisting attack. The Jericho III, as well as the older generationJericho II missiles, may be based at Palmachim Air Base. Jericho III is believed to carry a single nuclear warhead or three low-yield multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles. The precise yield of Israel’s ICBM warheads is unknown but unconfirmed reports peg them at 20 kilotons. By way of comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 16 kilotons. Jericho III is Israel’s strongest deterrence against any aggression.