Rockets

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RAFAEL MATADOR


Known in the IDF as the “Nut Cracker”, the RAFAEL MATADOR is a disposable light weight shoulder fired rocket. Unlike the LAW currently in mass service, the Matador is highly effective against both light armored vehicles and fortified positions, making it a versatile short range weapon. The MATADOR high penetration capability is achieved due to an advanced tandem warhead. The first warhead penetrates the external wall of the fortified position, while the second warhead detonates later inside the room. The two warheads can also detonate simultaneously, by activating a switch on the weapon, if a large penetration point is required.

The weapon weights around 10kg and has a 400 meters effective range. It’s equipped with an advanced night/day fire control system and is very simple to operate making the training on the device a matter of few hours. Due to its small backblast it is also safe to fire the weapon from within confined spaces such as rooms, making it an ideal weapon for urban warfare.

The MATADOR was purchased by IDF as a lesson from the Lebanon War in 2006, in which operators were in need for a weapon which can effectively clear out fortified positions. The MATADOR was first issued to the IDF SF units in early 2008 and in the end of 2008 was issued to conventional infantry units as well, so it can be use during the Gaza War. Dozens of MATADOR rockets were successfully deployed in the Gaza War and the weapon is considered an operational success.

IDF operators during training with a RAFAEL MATADOR. Left operator armed with a M4A1/M203 combo fitted with a Meprolight Mepro 21 and a Meprolight GLS203 (photo: IDF).

 

IDF operator during training with a RAFAEL MATADOR (photo: IDF).

 

M72 LAW


The M72 Light Antitank Weapon (LAW) is a shoulder fired, man portable, light anti-tank rocket. The LAW was developed in the 1960's and was a ground breaking device at the time - a prepackaged disposable rocket. The LAW weights 2.5kg and has an effective range of 200 meters.

The weapon consists of a rocket packed in a launcher and may be fired from either shoulder. The LAW requires very little care - just a visual inspection and some maintenance. The launcher serves as a waterproof packing container for the rocket and houses a firing mechanism that activates the rocket.

The LAW consists of two tubes, one inside the other, and a rocket:

  • Outer Tube - The trigger housing assembly is on the upper surface of the outer tube. So are the trigger, arming handle and front and rear sight assemblies.

  • Inner Tube - The inner tube telescopes outward toward the rear, guided by a channel assembly in the outer tube.

  • Rocket - The rocket is a fin-stabilized and has a 66 mm HEAT warhead, a fuse, and a rocket motor. Six spring-loaded fins are attached to the rear of the rocket motor. These fins are folded forward along the motor when the rocket is in the launcher. When ignited, the propellant in the rocket motor burns completely, producing gas pressure, which pushes the rocket toward the target and exits to the rear of the launcher as the back blast.

While the LAW is mainly used as an anti armor weapon, it can be used with limited success against secondary targets such as weapons caches, pillboxes, buildings or light vehicles.

The LAW Rocket.

IMI Shipon


The IMI Shipon is a man portable rocket launcher, developed in the late 1990's as a cost effective system designed to bridge the gap between entry level systems like the LAW and the RPG7 and the more costly ATGM. The Shipon is a dual purpose weapon which can be used against various armored vehicles and against fortifications.

The Shipon is in limited usage by the IDF SF units replacing the IMI B300. It is mainly deployed in urban scenarios involving barricaded terrorists when neither hostages nor civilians are present. In such a case, instead of storming the building and risking soldiers' lives, the assault team can simply fire a large number of Shipon rockets at the terrorists' building, burring them alive in the ruins.

Shipon.

 

RPG7


The Rocket Propelled Grenade 7 (RPG7) is a shoulder fired, man portable, light anti-tank rocket. The weapon entered service with the Soviet forces in 1962, and is massively used by former forces of the USSR, the Chinese Military, North Korea, as well as by a large number of countries that have previously received weapons and training from the former Soviet/Communist Bloc, such as the Arab countries.

The RPG7 is a simple and functional weapon that has an anti-vehicle/armor role and is also effective against fixed emplacements. Its effective range is 500 meters when used against a fixed target, and 300 meters when fired at a moving target, with a 50% hit probability. It fires a 85 mm rocket that can penetrate up to 12 inches of conventional armor plate, and has a total weight (including rocket) of a 8.6kg. The weapon requires a two-man crew - one soldier carries the launcher while another carries the rockets

Over the years numerous RPG7 were captured by the IDF. Impressed by its simplicity and effectiveness, the RPG7 was adopted and became standard issue item in the IDF. While the RPG7 launchers used by the IDF were all captured weapons, the rockets were made by IMI and were superior to the original ones.

IMI B300


The IMI B300 was a man portable rocket launcher developed in the early 1980's as a cost effective system designed to bridge the gap between entry level systems s like the LAW and the RPG7 and more costly ATGM.

The B300 was due to enter the IDF in large numbers replacing the Soviet RPG7 used at the time, providing the infantry soldier with a portable dual purpose system - anti tanks and anti fortifications. However, budget limitations prevented the mass distribution of the B300 and eventually it was supplied in small numbers to SF units, where it was used primarily as an anti fortification weapon.

The B300 was commonly used in urban scenarios involving barricaded terrorists when neither hostages nor civilians were present. Instead of storming the building and thus risking soldiers' lives, the assault team could simply fire a large number of B300 rockets at the terrorists' building, burring them alive in the ruins. Today, most IDF B300 were taken out of service and replaced by the newer IMI Shipon.

While the B300 main role is a man portable weapon, it also had an optional vehicle mounted version seen above.

As a system designed to be mass produced and replace low cost weapons like the RPG7, the B300 is a simple yet clever device, made of two main parts: a reusable launcher and a rocket pod.

B300 rocket pod.

Unlike other platforms, there is no need to take the rocket out of its pod and insert in into the launcher in order to fire the B300 - a time consuming procedure. Instead, the soldier simply takes the rocket pod and attached it to the back of the launcher. Due to the weapon's simplicity, little training is required and the weapon can be operational under few seconds.

A standard B300 setup consists of a backpack containing three rockets pods and a reusable launcher. The system itself is fully man portable and can be carried, loaded and fired by a single soldier. The system is rugged and can withstand harsh environmental conditions and rough handling such as airborne operations.

Weapons Guide