IDF to buy thousands of lightweight rocket launchers

Deal struck with Rafael arms manufacturer after two-year development process; launcher designed to ‘increase lethality of infantrymen’

Michael Bachner is a news editor at The Times of Israel

The IDF will receive thousands of improved lightweight rocket launchers meant for infantry combatants targeting structures, after signing a deal with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the army said Tuesday.

The shoulder-mounted launchers were developed specifically for the IDF’s needs after a two-year effort to reduce its weight by 40 percent, the army said in a statement. That should give the soldiers more flexibility in the battlefield, the army said.

The statement added that the launchers are the first of their kind, and that they were developed as part of the lessons learned from the war in Gaza in 2014.

It is a “rocket launcher with unique characteristics, matching the updated battlefield conditions and supporting infantry maneuvers,” the army said. “The launcher enables easy carrying when moving by foot, and simple handling and accurate and devastating strikes on structures up to a range of hundreds of meters.”

A handout photo of a new light-weight rocket launcher, thousands of which are to be sold to the IDF by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, as was announced January 30, 2018. (Rafael)

“This is good news for the battlefield of the future, especially for infantry,” said Col. Ariel Avivi, head of weaponry for the IDF’s ground forces. “This deal is part of a growing trend in the ground forces to increase the lethality of infantry soldiers.”

Avivi said that the rocket launcher would be easier for infantry forces to carry, without detracting from efficacy. “This step will give us operational independence and will let us return fire quickly and accurately,” he said.

The head of the tactical weapons department at Rafael, identified only as Zvi M., said the new weapon “is another layer of the technological power and superiority of the IDF ground forces in comparison to the enemy’s capabilities.”

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