Hezbollah's Surprise Weapons

Wonder why the Israelis thought their ship had been hit by a drone last week -- when it turned out to be a radar-guided missile instead? Or why the crew of the Hanit corvette didn't use their countermeasures to protect themselves? Simple: the Sabras knew that Hezbollah had been playing with drones; they had no idea that the terrorist group had such a sophisticated missile in their arsenal. It's one of a number of ways that the "power and sophistication" of Hezbollah's arms "has caught the United States and Israel off guard," the Times reports. "Officials in both countries are just now learning the extent to which the militant group has succeeded in getting weapons from Iran and Syria."c-802_3.jpgThe missile that hit the Hanit was a C-802, an Iranian-made variant of a stealthy, turbojet-powered, Chinese weapon. It's "considered along with the US 'Harpoon' as among the best anti-ship missiles" in the world, GlobalSecurity.org says."Iran began buying dozens of those sophisticated antiship missiles from the Chinese during the 1990s," the Times notes. "Until Friday, however, Western intelligence services did not know that Iran had managed to ship C-802 missiles to Hezbollah."Now that the Israelis know, it's influencing their choice of targets to hit. The C-802 was most likely "fired it from a truck-mounted launcher cued by a coastal radar installation," Situational Awareness says. So "Israel has stepped up its attacks against coastal radar sites, as any sort of surface-search set would be able to provide data for the initial launch."

After launch, the missile takes care of itself with its own inertial guidance system and onboard radar seeker. Since the launchers are mobile, the trucks carrying them could scoot after firing. And we all know how notoriously difficult it can be to locate mobile units, even when you have lots of reconnaissance assets.
The terrorists' more traditional weapons, like Katyusha rockets and Fajr-3 missiles, have contained surprises, too. "In the past, wed see three, four, maybe eight launches at any given time if Hezbollah was feeling feisty," one unnammed official told the paper. "Now we see them arriving in large clusters, and with a range and even certain accuracy we have not seen in the past."70 Katyushas were fired at Israel "within the space of an hour" on Wednesday afternoon, Ha'Aretz writes. Israel is responding by sending small group of ground troops into Lebanon, and by striking targets in Beruit -- including ones in the Christian part of town.The Times says that "while Iranian missile supplies to Hezbollah, either by sea or overland via Syria, were well known, officials said the current conflict also indicated that some of the rockets in Hezbollahs arsenal including a 220-millimeter rocket used in a deadly attack on a railway site in Haifa on Sunday were built in Syria."
Officials have since confirmed that the warhead on the Syrian rocket was filled with ball bearings a method of destruction used frequently in suicide bombings but not in warhead technology."Weve never seen anything like this," said one Western intelligence official, speaking about the warhead.
Conflicts Forum's Mark Perry, on the other hand, isn't as alarmed as most about Hezbollah's weaponry. {Joe Katzman says that's because the guy is a terrorist shill.} Perry declares that the militia only has a handful of sophisticated and long-range missiles. Check out his All Things Considered interview here.UPDATE 1:43 PM: "Israeli military officials have warned that the next Palestinian uprising could be 'a ballistic intifada,'" the Washington Post reports.(Big ups: Umansky)UPDATE 7:13 PM: The Jerusalem Post is reporting that "IAF fighter jets dropped over 20 tons in bombs late Wednesday night on a Hizbullah bunker, possibly the hiding place of the group's leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, in the Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camp in southeast Beirut. It was still unclear who was in the bunker at the time and what their fate was, but IDF sources said the bunker was totally destroyed and that all that was left was a crater."
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