Hezbollah and Hamas use Kornet anti-tank missiles against IDF

By Arie Egozi

While the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) tanks and armored vehicles are protected by active protection systems against rockets and missiles, infantry soldiers and civilians have become targets for these missiles operated by Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. The Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missile is one of the many weapon systems operated by these two groups. Hezbollah has launched many of these missiles against Israel since the war began, injuring and killing IDF soldiers in the process.


The Kornet, the most recent iteration of the Sagger anti-tank missiles manufactured in Russia, which Israel encountered during the Yom Kippur War, uses a laser beam for self-guidance. The missile launcher positions a tripod with a telescope-like device that directs a laser beam towards the target. The missile revolves around the light beam, and a special sensor corrects its trajectory if it veers off course.


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The missile can pierce through steel plates and has an effective range of 5-8 km. It carries a 4.5 kg hollow charge in its nose, plus explosives for an initial breach of the armor before the main explosion of the second charge inside the tank. It is a mechanism containing a crushing explosive that operates in two stages or a thermobaric warhead with a flammable cloud and flammable metal chips, capable of penetrating steel 1 meter thick.


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While Israeli Merkava tanks and the IDF’s Namer and Eitan armored vehicles are protected by active protection systems, such as the Trophy made by Rafael and the Elbit Iron Fist, soldiers and civilians near the borders are not. “This has become a major problem, and we try to hit the launchers in many ways, including by armed UAVs,” an Israeli source said.


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