Monday, August 28, 2006

Those fake Hizbullah staged photo ops...

From David Frum and Stuart Koehl, a reader and professional military analyst, writes: "While a lot of bloggers have posted a lot of reasons as to why the two ambulances could not have been destroyed by israeli missiles, they fail to latch onto the most obvious of all reasons: the damage effects shown on the ambulances is not consistent with that of the missiles used by Israel (or by any extant missile in service, to the best of my knowledge, which includes 27 years as a professional military analyst). The Israel Defense Forces use two types of airborne tactical missile against vehicular targets: the AGM-65 Maverick, and the AGM-114 Hellifire. The former is a large missile weighing between 500 and 670 pounds at launch. The smallest version has a 125-lb warhead, the larger variants carry 300 lbs of high explosive. A supersonic missile designed to kill tanks and other hardened targets, it has so much power that even inert practice rounds have been known to go right through a main battle tank. First supplied to Israel in the Yom Kippur War, the Israelis found it had too much overkill against Arab tanks, which were completely gutted, and thus could not be salvaged for their own use. If even a lightweight AGM-65A or D model had hit a 3000-lb ambulance, there would have been nothing left to display for the photographers. Whatever destroyed those ambulances, it wasn't a Maverick. The other airborne anti-tank missile used by the IDF, the AGM-114 Hellfire was also designed to kill tanks. A lot smaller than the Maverick, it weighs about 100 lbs and carries a shaped-charge armor piercing warhead. A supersonic missile, it uses a pop-up-and-dive trajectory to hit tanks on the turret roof (where the armor is thinest). It is lethal even against the most modern main battle tanks. Assuming one had hit an ambulance, the vehicle would have been blown into pieces just by the impact forces, let alone the effects of the warhead. But, for the sake of argument, let us assume that the ambulances retained their structural integrity. Since the Hellfire uses a diving attack trajectory, there should be a hole in the top of the ambulance, and lo! so there is. But there should also be a corresponding exit hole in the bottom of the ambulances, and there is not. Moreover, the effects of the missile passing through the vehicle should have gutted the area beneath the hole in the roof, and the interior is suspiciously intact. Conclusion: whatever hit the ambulances, it wasn't a Hellfire. There is a remote possibility that the Israelis used an older BGM-71 TOW wire-guided anti-tank missile, which being slower would not have blown the vehicle apart (though its large warhead would have cause a lot of blast and heat damage, also missing from the vehicles). However, most TOW versions use a direct attack trajectory, so any impact area would be on the side, not the top of the vehicle. Whatever hit the ambulances wasn't a TOW."

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