Five years ago, Israel fired over 600 of these top secret missiles at Hezbollah fighters during its war against Lebanon. The weapon's remained a mystery—until now. Meet Tamuz, Jerusalem's APC-launched, camera-guided, person-hunting aerial killer.
The notion of a "safe" or "smart" weapon is almost always a misguided one at best—at worst, one that whitewashes the reality of war and coaxes forces into killing innocents. But the Tamuz rocket does appear pretty damn accurate—at least from this (handpicked) field footage released by the Israeli Defense Force, a caveat in itself.
The Jerusalem Post has details on the missile's complex delivery:
The missile has a range of 25 km. and can penetrate armored vehicles. It can come with a different anti-personnel warhead. The missile is launched from an armored personnel carrier from two launchers, each of which is capable of carrying three missiles. The APC can carry an additional four missiles inside.
The Tamuz uses an advanced electro-optic camera that transmits the image of its target back to operators inside the APC, who then manually drive it toward the target. Tamuz teams work closely with an artillery unit, which operates Hermes 450 reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles that provide the intelligence on the targets that are then attacked by the Tamuz missile.
David Cenciotti also notes the crafty way in which the missile lofts itself high above a battlefield before hurtling down toward an unlucky person, place, or thing:
It initially climbs to an altitude that give its camera a good point of view of the presumed target area; then it moves (slowly) towards the target area (it seems to hover) and, as soon as a positive identification is obtained, it is guided to hit the target.
Although it's naive to assume a weapon's accuracy based on a military test footage—essentially an IDF press release—it raises some questions about remote killing. If you can literally look at the face of the man you're about to kill from above, is the alienation many have ascribed to the UAV era of warfare mitigated? Are the APC operators less detached from their targets than, say, CIA operators killing Taliban from Virginia? [Jerusalem Post via David Cenciotti]