Israel-Hamas War: Use of Russian Kornet Anti-Tank Missile by Iranian Proxies Emerging as a Major Problem

By Arie Egozi

Foreign Affairs

Tel Aviv: While the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) tanks and armoured vehicles are protected by active protection systems against rockets and missiles, infantry soldiers and civilians have become targets for these missiles operated by the Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Hamas in Gaza.

The Russian made Kornet anti-tank missile, is one of the many weapon systems operated by the two Iranian proxies. Hezbollah has launched many of these missiles against Israel since the war began, injuring and killing IDF soldiers in the process.

The Kornet is the most recent iteration of the Sagger anti-tank missiles, manufactured in Russia, which Israel was familiar with during the Yom Kippur War. The Kornet uses a laser beam for self-guidance. The missile launcher positions a tripod with a kind of telescope that directs a laser beam in the direction of the target. The missile revolves around the light beam. A special sensor corrects the missile’s trajectory if it veers off course.

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

While the Israeli Merkava tanks and the IDF’s Namer and Eitan armoured vehicles are protected by active protection systems, the Trophy made by Rafael and the Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist, the 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.