Although the elite Meitar unit is being shuttered, the Israeli made Tammuz missile will continue to see action, as a new 5th-generation version with an extended range of 30km is already in use within the Artillery Corps.
By Yoav Zitun
After 30 years of operations, the IDF is closing the “Meitar” special operations unit. The Artillery Corps recently held a ceremony to mark the end of operations for the unit, which was responsible for operating the long range precision-guided Tammuz missile.
The missile system was designed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and entered service in 1986, originally being intended for tanks and armored personnel carriers.
Over the years, with the evolution of Israel’s military threat, the missile and the unit were adapted to fight against terrorist targets, such as anti-tank squads and enemy structures.
With several new units being established within the Artillery Corps in recent years, it was decided in the last year to close the unit—despite internal divisions within the army—due to manpower and budgetary constraints.
Unit operators are in the process of being redistributed among various artillery units.
Despite Meitar being shuttered, the Tammuz missile will continue to see action. A new, fifth-generation version is already in action and has a range of 30km.
“The unit was composed of excellent fighters and commanders and it is unfortunate it was closed. This is part of a reorganization of IDF and the order of battle as well as the renovation of weapons,” said a senior Artillery Corps officer.
Over the years, the unit has conducted more than 1,000 operational activities with the Tammuz, with dozens being conducted in the last year against the Syrian army targets in the Golan in response to mortar and rocket fire at Israel.
During Operation Protective Edge, in which the missile was heavily utilized, one incident occurred in which operators spotted a Palestinian woman in a structure being targeted by the Tammuz and at the last second, moved the missile off target to avoid killing an innocent civilian.
According to the same officer, “The video demonstrates our values. Just as a soldier won’t shoot an innocent with his or her rifle, neither will we. The conducting of the mission is not at any cost.
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