Has Hezbollah put the 4th generation of the Almas missile into operational use?

A few days ago, Hezbollah released a video documenting an attack on a military post on the Lebanese border with an Almas anti-tank missile (according to the video, the attack was carried out on June 9). Throughout the war, Hezbollah released quite a few videos showing the use of this missile against targets in Israel, and alongside other publications on the subject, it can be estimated that three generations of the missile have been used so far.

From the initial examination of the video that was released, it appears that Hezbollah has introduced the 4th generation of the Almas missile.

As we have previously reported, the Almas (Diamond) is an Iranian anti-tank missile developed on the basis of the Israeli Spike missile. Unlike missiles such as Kornet, which fly in a direct trajectory toward the target requiring a line of sight, the Almas has a ballistic trajectory that strikes the target from above (top attack) allowing firing at targets that are out of sight.
Almas has an optical guidance system and is controlled throughout the flight. The operator has the option to lock the missile on a target before launching it, nonetheless, it is also possible to control the missile during flight, locking it on a selected target throughout its flight. The Almas can be launched from a mobile ground launcher, but also from a vehicle and airborne platforms such as helicopters and UAVs.

From the information available so far, it appears that the first generation of the Almas has a range of 4 km, the second generation has a range of 8 km, and the third generation has a range of 10 km (some estimates claim that the range is 16 km).

From the videos released by Hezbollah and other information we collected, it appears that a number of improvements have been made to the missile’s fourth generation. First, the image transmitted by the missile is much sharper, and makes it easier to identify and hit the target. In addition, the reticle and the cross hair used by the operator are smaller and painted white, unlike previous generations that displayed green markings. Another significant change is the transition to command and communication with the missile wirelessly via DATA LINK, as opposed to the use of fiber optic wire until now.

Another difference, which is noticeable in the above video, may hint at a change in the missile’s engine. In contrast to previous documentation, in which the missile emits almost no smoke during launch and flight, it appears that the fourth generation emits a relatively large amount of white smoke after launch. The reason for this is still unclear and could be due to a change in the missile’s engine (perhaps to increase range, for example) but also to other reasons, such as weather conditions.

As for the operational range of the 4th generation of the Almas, there is still no reliable information. There is a possibility that the range of the missile is greater, and clues to this may be found in the shift to wireless control of the missile and in a possible change in the missile’s engine. However, there is a possibility that the range remains similar to that of the 3rd generation and that the main changes were made to the missile’s command and control systems. In addition, there is no reliable information regarding the dimensions of the missile and the weight of the warhead.

In addition, there are two other points worth noting.
First of all, the use of the 4th generation of the Almas indicates the continued activity of arms smuggling from Iran to Hezbollah. This can be through the land corridor but also through Lebanon or Syria’s seaports or through Beirut’s international airport. This matter came up about a month ago, when we pointed out that one of the missiles used by Hezbollah against Israel was manufactured in 2023.

Another important point is that as far as we know, there is no available record of Almas missiles being fired at night. This issue raises the question of whether Iran produced the Almas missiles with Infrared seekers.

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Picture of Boaz Shapira

Boaz Shapira

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