Since the start of Operation “Al-Aqsa Flood” on October 7, panic has gripped the residents of the border settlements located north of the Israeli occupation state, as Lebanese Hezbollah missiles and drones began to flock to them. Most of the border settlements in northern Israel have turned into ghost towns, with the successive establishment of the occupying state With evacuation Dozens of settlements and towns on the Lebanese border.
In fact, Hezbollah's military capabilities in Lebanon have witnessed significant development over the past few years, which some have described as changing the rules of the game with Israel. The party demonstrated this after using (1) many new weapons since the seventh of last October in its attacks on Israel, which foretells a new form of war between the two parties, if it is destined to break out.
In 2021, the Hebrew newspaper “Jerusalem Post” (2) published a report indicating that Hezbollah had deployed Russian-made air defense systems capable of confronting Israeli air strikes, in southern Lebanon and the Qalamoun Mountains region northwest of Damascus, close to the Lebanese Bekaa region, which is What many reports considered a strategy and a major change in the Lebanese party’s concept of air defense.
This matter raised concerns among Israeli officials, fearing that Hezbollah’s defense systems would hinder the freedom of Israeli air operations within Lebanese airspace, which is what actually happened last October 29, when Hezbollah announced the downing of an Israeli drone that was flying over southern Lebanon. With a surface-to-air missile, in an incident (3) that is considered the first of its kind in which the party announced the downing of a drone.
Hezbollah's defense system includes short-range, low-altitude tactical surface-to-air missiles (SA8), a mobile missile defense system that includes large six-wheeled vehicles (4), and improved launchers that can carry six missiles. It is also reinforced with three systems from Radars: an elliptical H-BAND surveillance system with a range of up to 30 km, a J-BAND pulsed tracking radar system with a maximum tracking range of about 20 km, and an I-BAND guidance radar that can Directing two missiles to one target.
The defense system also includes the SA17 air defense system reinforced with medium-range surface-to-air missiles (5), which is an upgraded version of the Buk-M1 mobile air defense system. It contains four missile launchers, target identification radars, a guidance radar, and a management station. Battlefield and self-propelled launch vehicles. The system can engage a wide range of targets flying at altitudes ranging from 10-24 thousand meters, with a maximum range of up to 50 kilometers, and it can engage up to 24 targets simultaneously and from any direction.
This is in contrast to the short-range air defense system (SA22), which Russia designed in the 1990s, especially to protect military and strategic targets (6). This system can deal with a wide range of air targets, such as aircraft, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and drones. This system is equipped with about 12 surface-to-air interceptor missiles ready for launch, and a two-stage solid fuel engine, and has a maximum range of 20 kilometers.
On January 6 and 9, Hezbollah (7) succeeded in carrying out two drone attacks on Israeli targets, the first targeting the traffic control base of the Israeli Air Force in Mount Meron, and the second targeting the headquarters of the Northern Command of the Israeli army in the city of Safed. Some attributed this matter to serious tactical errors by the Israeli defense system, while others wondered whether the marches had helped Hezbollah turn the balance of the equation with Israel.
According to estimates (8) of the Israeli “Alma Research Center” for the year 2021, Hezbollah possesses more than 2,000 multi-mission drones, which are the aircraft that were used on more than one occasion during the current round of clashes. The party’s Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah, announced that Suicide attack drones were used for the first time in the recent war, and Israeli army reports also monitored about 19 incidents of drones launched from southern Lebanon and posing a threat to Israel since October 7, 2023.
Hezbollah's arsenal of drones includes aircraft of various sizes, with reconnaissance and attack capabilities, the most important of which are (9) the “Marsad 1” and “Marsad 2” aircraft, which are copies inspired by the Iranian “Mohajer 2” and “Mohajer 4” aircraft, and have a range of 50. To 150 kilometers, it is also equipped with two or three cameras for reconnaissance missions.
Then comes the “Ayoub” march, named after the late (10) Hussein Ayoub, one of the party’s first and most important military brains in the field of military manufacturing. The range of the march ranges between 1700-2400 kilometers, and it can carry up to eight precision-guided bombs, according to Some estimates. This is followed by the “Ababil” aircraft, which is a suicide attack aircraft with a range of up to 150 kilometers and can carry up to 45 kilograms of explosives. Then comes the “Hassan” march (11), which toured the occupied Palestinian territories in February 2022, for 40 minutes during a 70-kilometer deep reconnaissance mission, after which it returned to its bases safely.
Hezbollah's missile arsenal
According to many estimates (11), Lebanese Hezbollah is the most heavily armed non-state actor in the world, and it is constantly updating and expanding its missile stockpile. The party possesses a huge arsenal of missiles, the exact size of which we do not know, but Israeli estimates indicate that Hezbollah’s missile capacity exceeds 150,000 missiles.
In November 2023, (12) Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of the party, announced the introduction of a new “Burkan 2” missile to the battlefield. The party targeted, with four “Burkan” missiles, the command center of the 91st Division of the Israeli occupation army in a barracks. Pranit. According to Nasrallah's statements, “Barkan” can carry warheads weighing between 300-500 kilograms of explosives.
Hezbollah's missile arsenal also includes hundreds of precision missiles (13) with high destructive capacity, which can reach the Israeli depths and hit targets with extreme accuracy and a smaller margin of error, which has raised concerns among Israeli officials if the war expands to include the southern Lebanon front, as Israel will then be forced to Transforming its entire defense system to protect its sensitive military institutions.
Hezbollah also possesses the dual “Tharallah” platform for guided missiles, which is an anti-armor system that the party announced in August 2023. It is distinguished by its high ability to hit targets accurately, and is composed of two launch platforms designated for “Cornet” missiles. Add to that the unguided surface-to-surface missiles, which developed significantly after the last war Hezbollah fought with the occupying state in 2006, including but not limited to the “Katyusha” missiles, which are Russian-origin missiles, with a range of up to 40 kilometers, and can carry A warhead weighing 20 kilograms, the “Fajr 5” missiles, with a range of 75 kilometers, with a warhead weighing 90 kilograms, and the “Zelzal” missiles, which have a range starting from 160 kilometers and up to 210 kilometers and can carry a warhead weighing 600 kilograms of explosives. And “Scud” missiles “With a range of up to 700 kilometers, and a warhead of up to 800 kilograms of high explosive material (14).
In a report published by the Hebrew website “Walla” (15) on January 5, officials in the operations wing of the Israeli army stated that Hezbollah’s recent threats are based on a strong foundation, especially after the party was able to develop its capabilities in an accelerated manner over the past decade, and officials claim The Israeli army said that Iran was able to smuggle advanced technological systems and weapons to the party since the beginning of the war.
Reuters News Agency (16) also indicated in a report published on October 30, 2023, that Hezbollah is devoting its efforts to adding guidance systems to unguided missiles, in order to transform them into accurate missiles, and enhance their ability to directly strike strategic targets such as headquarters. And military bases.
In addition, the party possesses a stockpile of anti-aircraft missiles, including shoulder-fired missiles, which it uses to target planes and helicopters at low altitudes. Hezbollah's marches could also pose a strategic threat to Israel, especially since they are cheap and can be produced in large quantities. If swarms of these marches attack Israeli air defense systems, they may lead to the depletion and neutralization of the “Iron Dome” system.
All of this is in addition to the party’s “cyber” capabilities and technological knowledge, which has enhanced its ability to disrupt communications systems and the Global Positioning System (GPS). Not only that, but Hezbollah is now able to carry out advanced cyber attacks on the Internet and target sensitive infrastructure.
In addition to all of this, there is a huge network of tunnels belonging to Hezbollah that connect the villages of southern Lebanon to each other, similar to the tunnels of the Palestinian resistance movement (Hamas), which are difficult to destroy through air strikes, according to the report, which makes eliminating Hezbollah difficult and impossible. This can only be done through large-scale ground maneuvers.
But despite this huge missile arsenal and the military readiness of Hezbollah, it has so far only used it within the framework of deterrence, and there are no indications indicating an intention to use these weapons extensively during the current conflict, as the party manages border clashes and battles with extreme precision and caution, without taking any risks. Expanding the scope of the war to the Lebanese front.
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