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Hezbollah Strikes Key Israeli Radar of Iron Dome with Iranian Almas Missile.

| Defense News Army 2024

Hezbollah released a video on April 18 2024 showing the destruction of an Israeli EL/M-2084 radar, a key component of the Iron Dome missile defense system. The attack, which occurred at the Meron military base, was carried out using the Iranian-made heavy anti-tank guided missile "Almas-3," according to observers. However, it is suggested that since the Almas-3 can be launched from a vehicle or UAV, the missile used might have been an Almas-2 or Almas-1.
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An extract from the video published by Hezbollah showing the Israeli radar just before impact (Picture source: Israel Aerospace Industries/Hezbollah)

The EL/M-2084 is an advanced multi-mission AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and its subsidiary, ELTA Systems. It plays a critical role in Israel's multi-layered defense network, mainly for detection and tracking duties within the Iron Dome system, which intercepts short-range rockets and artillery shells. The radar provides high-resolution detection and tracking of both aerial and surface targets, managing multiple threats simultaneously, making it effective in dense threat environments. It operates on the S-band frequency, ensuring robust performance under adverse weather conditions and clutter.

A standard Iron Dome battery includes the EL/M-2084 radar, a missile control unit, and several launchers, each equipped with 20 interceptors, offering 360-degree coverage and rapid response capabilities.

While primarily used in the Iron Dome system, the EL/M-2084's versatility also allows integration into other Israeli missile defense systems like David's Sling and Arrow, bolstering the country's layered defense strategy. The radar has also been exported to various countries, including India and Azerbaijan, showcasing its global relevance and effectiveness.

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The different models of the Iranian Almas missile and an extract from the video published by Hezbollah showing ATGM launching the missile (Picture source: ArmyRecognition/ Hezbollah)

The Almas missile, produced by the Iranian Ministry of Defense, is a short-range anti-armor and anti-personnel "fire-and-forget" weapon, known as the Iranian version of the Israeli Spike missile. Available in three variants—Almas-1, Almas-2, and Almas-3—these missiles were first seen in the spring of 2020 during a massive delivery of drones to the Iranian Army and were officially unveiled and tested from an Ababil 3 drone in January of the following year. Influenced by the design of the Spike missile captured during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War, the Almas missiles feature tandem-charge high-explosive or thermobaric warheads and utilize image infrared homing (IIR) and electro-optical sensors for guidance.

The loss of an EL/M-2084 radar unit would significantly impact Israel, potentially weakening its multi-layered defense network. This incident not only underscores the vulnerabilities in advanced military technologies but also reflects the broader regional dynamics, including Iran's military support to Hezbollah. Iran and Hezbollah's relationship is characterized by substantial military and financial support, forming a part of Iran's strategy to expand its influence in the Middle East through proxy wars.

This support enables Hezbollah to maintain a sophisticated arsenal, enhancing its strategic leverage against Israel and other regional adversaries. The international community often criticizes these weapon transfers as they contribute to regional destabilization and heighten tensions in already conflict-ridden areas. This proxy warfare dynamic emphasizes Iran's use of Hezbollah as a key tool in its regional hegemony ambitions, making the group not only a military power but also a significant political player in Lebanon and across the region.

Defense News April 2024

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