Recently declassified Israeli military documents confirm the existence of a unique Israeli weapon: a mobile anti-tank guided missile launcher disguised as an ordinary tank.
“It’s been cleared for publication that Israel has been operating a special weapons system kept secret for about 30 years: the Pereh tank,” the Israel Defense website reported last week.
Pereh, meaning “wild” in Hebrew, is based on the US-made M60 Patton and carries Tammuz (Spike) anti-tank guided missiles. Underneath the shell of a dummy tank, a sizable turret houses a launcher for 12 missiles.
Its launcher and raised tower-aiming system fold into the armored turret when not in use, and a fake gun barrel is attached to the vehicle so that it appears to be a normal tank.
“The tank has been uniquely and deceptively converted into a platform capable of launching anti-tank Tammuz missiles,” the defense magazine reported.
According to Israel Defense, the Pereh has been in service for over 30 years and has been active in every major military operation involving Israel in the past two and a half decades.
In areas such as Israel’s hilly northern border with Lebanon, the Pereh was regularly used to take out targets and provide fire support from kilometers away, the report said.
There has been much speculation into Pereh’s existence in recent years on various online forums and in Israeli media, but the IDF was reluctant to confirmed its existence.
The first images showing the strange-looking “tank” were leaked online during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war. Then again, two years ago, Pereh tanks were photographed near the Israeli-Syrian border. However, in both cases, the online images quickly vanished at the orders of the IDF censor.
Members of an online military and security forum on the “fresh” website appealed the vehicle’s military status to the IDF censor, which eventually agreed to confirm its existence.