Hezbollah’s Growing Ballistic Missile Stockpile Turns From Terror Threat to Military Threat

While there has been much discussion in recent weeks over whether or not Hezbollah actually received Scud short range ballistic missiles from Syria, its Hezbollah’s growing stocks of Syrian made M-600 battlefield short range missiles that may prove more threatening.

The M-600 is an improvement on the Iranian Fatah-110 missile, carrying a thousand pound warhead to ranges in excess of 300 kilometers. What makes these missiles a military, versus terror, threat is that they are fitted with GPS-aided inertial navigation. While the Scud is liquid fueled, which means it’s vulnerable to air strikes while fueling before launch, the M-600 is solid fuel and can be fired without preparation.

Most of the rockets Hezbollah rained down on Israel in the 2006 war were unguided; good for spreading terror, not so good at taking out point targets. A precise short-range ballistic missile would enable Hezbollah to target Israeli military installations, air bases and troop concentrations. Reports of Fatah-110 deliveries to Hezbollah first appeared in the Israeli press in 2007.

“With that threat in mind, the Israeli air force recently concluded a decade-long effort of redeploying most of its assets in southern bases, positioning them as far as possible from the Lebanese border for maximum protection. Fighter squadrons, which remain in northern and central Israel, are constantly training in emergency deployment to southern bases, should their home bases come under missile and rocket attacks.”

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s David Schenker says the much debated Scud deliveries to Hezbollah are “a tempest in a teapot.” He points out the logistical headaches of establishing the infrastructure for “the nearly 40 feet tall weapon and its challenging liquid fuel rocket.” The M-600, of which Hezbollah is reported to have around 200, is a much more dangerous weapon, he contends, with its 300 kilometer range, quoting a Hezbollah statement: “is the distance required for precise strikes in all the land of occupied Palestine”

— Greg Grant

20 Comments on "Hezbollah’s Growing Ballistic Missile Stockpile Turns From Terror Threat to Military Threat"

  1. The Fateh is the most accurate SSM in service in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Being a hotspot deployment, one would expect the M-600 variation to possess the latest upgrades.

    I wouldn't characterize Lebanon's application of 122 mm or 230 mm rockets during the 33-Day war as "terror", as the campaign had a military siege effect that was instrumental in the successful defense of the country.

  2. "GPS-aided inertial navigation"

    Not sure what they mean by this, but I was under the impression that GPS was typically a primary guidance system with inertial as a backup.

  3. Does the muslim terrorist nations have GPS satellites in orbit? If not then whose GPS are they using? Should be able to do a little homework and encrypt them out of the system by getting thier download freqs and jamming.

  4. Isreal will seek a preemptive strike capability against these launchers. This will make the Lebanese border less secure, not more secure, since using these missiles will cause a full scale military invasion from Isreal. Isreal will seek to force the missiles beyond deployable range and destroy all that they can locate.

  5. I don't think (although I do not know for certain) that GPS can be selectively disabled from a particular area on the Earth's surface.

    If it can, then the more the terrorists depend on GPS, the better, because when war starts, all we would have to do is disable GPS for their area and their weapons would become basically unguided rockets (except for inertial guidance, which only helps a little).

    The 64 million dollar question is, can GPS be disabled in a local area or not?

  6. GPS can be disabled in a limited area, but the problem is that it disables all GPS. Now I'm sure that our military would still be able to access it, but I don't know if the IDF gets the same access.

    The only other GPS constellations availabe are the Russian and EU attempts which aren't quite as effective and all encompassing as the American GPS constellation.

    GPS does have different settings where the military gets the most accurate data, but since the mid 1990s they US government made the commercial setting as accurate as the military setting. This can be changed rather quickly, and the commercial version will once again have far less accuracy.

    I'm just paraphrasing but if you want to know more about the use of GPS and warfare, Mike Rip's book "The Precision Revolution"

  7. A neat counter measure would be capture or acquire one of these weapons and reverse engineer it to decipher its software. Once this is done, you could develope a "hacking program" which would basically tell the missle to return to its lauch site after launch once the GPS inquirey was established.

  8. "If I was Hezbollah, I would not depend on GPS as a primary means of navigation if the USA can cut off GPS service (through selective availability) to the Lebanon area in a conflict with Israel."

    a/ if you think Obama is going to do anything to help Israel or hinder Hezbullah, you are as deluded as the so-called jews who helped elect him.

    b/ Nothing personal, just following on your theme:

    If you were Hezbollah, and if I were Israel you and whatever few of you were left would be walking to Syria right now (or whatever would be left of Syria, including the smoldering wrecks of the Russian fleet).

    There is only one way to avoid a mid east conflagration.


  9. GPS can easily be jammed.

    Hence why there are 2 signals.

    1 is unencrypted for the use of normal people

    2 is encrypted for the use of US and coalition forces only.

    If the missle does use GPS guidance, them I'm pretty certain the Israelis can easily mimick the signal!

  10. Um, if you disable GPS in the area where Hezbollah is don't you also disable it for the Israelis attacking Hezbollah in the same area? Isn't Hezbollah smart enough to use the same GPS frequencies as the Israelis?

  11. robert graham | May 19, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Reply

    I see no reason why satellites are needed to broadcast GPS type signals for a conflict in the Middle East. Israel could easily use three or four of the many surpus 747 airplanes for the electroncics needed..

  12. The middle-east confrontation will not end peacefully. Sooner or later there will be another major shooting war which again will solve nothing in the long run. The Israelies missed a huge opportunity in ’67 when they did not kick all the arabs out of Gaza, Jerusalem and West Bank. This song and dance will go on in perpetuity regardless even whether there is a Palestinian state or not. As far as these missiles go, this is just another drop in the same bucket.

  13. iran, turkey, russia and their allies will attack Israel and will be defeated. damascus will likely be nuked – it will be totally destroyed somehow. This WILL happen -maybe not this year (although it likely will be this year) but it WILL happen (all of this is in the bible- Ezekiel 38-39 and Isaiah 17:1)

  14. I was waiting for someone to pop up with a "Biblical interpretation"…

  15. Isiah: The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

    I'm sure Damascus has been sacked at least once in it's history. Thus the prophecy has already been fulfilled. Moving on, next!

    What I'm curious about is if it GPS signals work two ways-that is is information from a GPS receiver ever transmitted to the satellite? I'm under the impression that communication is one way, since that makes the receiver much less complicated and you won't need a massive antenna to ensure that your transmission gets to orbit (because you won't need to transmit from your receiver, just to read).

  16. Hey Kim, the Ezekiel War already happened; Gog, home of the Ashkenazi Turks already invaded Palestine when it was a land without walled cities. You might want to reread your theology, because you're taking scripture out of context…

  17. A more interesting scenario is for Israeli EW units to hack and spoof the GPS to target Lebanese / Hizbollah targets so when they fire on Israel they target and hit their own forces.

    Failing this Israel should rightly claim that as part of the Lebanese government any Hizbollah strike on Israeli citizens or soil will be treated as an act of war and a disproportionate retaliation will occur.

    I am IDF Reserve Infantry and my greatest regret from Lebanon II was that our commanders didn't give us the freedom of action we needed to stop the missiles and get our kidnapped soldiers back (the stories I could tell you..)

  18. Granted, however, GPS sats are needed to obtain the locations and GPS sats are needed to guide the missles, ergo, no sat sig, no guidance. At least thats the way it appears to me.
    Some suggested that you guide the missle back to its launcher, dont think that a hypersonic missle will make a very good U turn, do you. Maybe they can divert it to open water where it will be a big splash only.

  19. Let's try to rememer who the bad guys are here. Zionism is racism. How else do you make a sanctuary only for Jews (on stolen land, by the way) except by discriminating against non-Jews? Israel should try the American approach, which is justice and liberty for all. In the meantime, Israel is the bad guys: genocide: "kill all the Canaanites, man, woman, and child." Is that your idea of American?

  20. In all honesty, the Palestinians were sold out by the British. The UN stepped in and did a 50/50 divide (which is still screwing the Palestinians, who probably are the "real Jews" except they were forced to convert or be killed).

    So in the end you have "the Jews coming home", though they are exiles from way back and are probably more European then Levantine. The 50/50 was unacceptable to the Palestinians as they got rump land, so the Arab War of '48 begins. Then Six-Day. Then Yom-Kippur, which establishes in the minds of Israeli citizens that "they have bled for this land and it is ours". Kind of hard to persuade someone that land isn't theirs when they've died on it.

    I honestly think the way forward is to integrate the two countries, but Israel has an agenda of a "Jewish state", which is discriminatory and wouldn't last ten seconds if someone tried to apply it here in the United States. Reform won't be taken seriously if it comes from Palestinians, it has to come from the Israeli "Arab" minority living in Israel for the Israeli government to consider it seriously.

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