Hezbollah smart missiles could trigger war with Israel

A new BICOM research study published today warns that Hezbollah’s ‘Precision project’, to convert existing missiles into precision-guided missiles, could trigger a new war with Israel.

The paper, ‘Hezbollah’s Precision Missile Project’, says Hezbollah currently has between 20 and 200 precision-guided missiles but aims to upgrade its 14,000 Zelzal-2 missiles with precision guidance systems that would enhance their accuracy to 50m from their intended target with a range of 210km.

It is estimated that, once the components are on site, the technical process to convert existing missiles into precision-guided missiles can be completed within three hours and costs between $5,000-$10,000. Iran has supported and assisted Hezbollah in this project by providing finance, expertise, training, transport and logistical support.

The paper concludes that Israel has so far relied on the diplomatic route to counter this threat, publicly exposing missile factories and raising awareness of the precision project at the UN and with allies. But it will soon face a dilemma whether to launch a pre-emptive strike and destroy Hezbollah missile factories or delay military action and risk facing a substantially more destructive missile threat to its critical infrastructure and population centres.

BICOM CEO James Sorene said: “The scale and ambition of Hezbollah’s ‘precision project’ is a deeply alarming step change in its capability to destroy infrastructure and cause mass casualties.”

“This is likely to be the first time that a non-state actor has successfully developed a quick and relatively cheap production line to convert inaccurate missiles into precision guided missiles. This capability has already been shared with Houthi militias in Yemen and if it is given to Shia militias in Syria and Iraq, the consequences could be devastating and present a considerable threat to UK forces operating in the Middle East.”

Read the full report here: http://www.bicom.org.uk/analysis/bicom-briefing-hezbollahs-precision-missile-project/