Tel Aviv: As the war between Israel and the Hamas terror organisation in Gaza continues, there are more indications that Iran has been the major supplier of weapons that are being used now against the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).
According to a report in the website of the Israeli Alma Research and Education Centre, one of these Iranian made weapons is a new version of the RPG, familiar anti-tank weapon.
The two analysts that wrote the report, Yair Ansbacher and Yishay Armoni say that in recent months, throughout the war, the IDF was exposed to a new and unknown weapon deployed by Hamas, known as the TBG. “The TBG was supplied to Hamas directly from Iran and has a Persian inscription on it.”
The report says that the TBG is a designated warhead for use with a Soviet RPG-7 launcher. The warhead is apparently manufactured in Iran.
“Externally, the warhead resembles the tandem (PG-7R) warhead familiar to the RPG-7, but a closer examination reveals that it is a completely different weapon. In fact, the rear of the warhead resembles a Russian TBG-7 thermobaric warhead (first introduced in 1999), with the addition of the front part of the tandem warhead (PG-7R).”
According to the report, while in storage, the warhead is wrapped in a designated sealed PVC pipe, which protects the warhead against wear and corrosion while at the same time maintaining the secrecy of the weapon.
“Many such pipes, painted in camouflage colours and bearing the logo of Hamas’ military wing, were found scattered throughout the Gaza Strip envelope after Hamas terrorists invaded on October 7, 2023,” the report points out.
The report says that the new TBG warhead consists of two parts (tandem): the first consists of a small hollow charge designed for light armour penetration, and the second contains a large thermobaric (fuel-air) charge with a diameter of 105 mm. This combination allows the weapon to penetrate the exterior armour of an armoured combat vehicle or a wall, and then after the initial penetration, an explosion occurs, creating a burning effect and increased air pressure.
“These qualities make it particularly effective against light armoured vehicles (like the IDF’s “David” vehicle), infantry, and civilians in buildings and behind cover, as well as against armoured personnel teams with exposed body parts outside the vehicle. However, it is not effective against heavy armoured vehicles with closed hatches since the hollow charge at the top is too small to penetrate thick armour.”
According to data published by Hamas in a video from November 2023, the weapon is of 105 mm caliber, its effective range is 100 metres, and it weighs 4.5 kg (the same weight as the TBG-7V). In the video, Hamas emphasises that the weapon’s purpose is against buildings and fortifications, having the ability to penetrate walls and explode behind them.
If the TBG used by Hamas appeared in the fighting in the Gaza Strip, then it is also present in the Lebanese arena in the use of Hezbollah. Hezbollah also has many thousands (if not more) of RPG-7 launchers. Although it is unclear at this point if Hezbollah is developing the TBG on its own, the chances are greater than those of Hamas doing so.