Middle East

Fajr 5: five times the range of home-made rockets

A rocket is seen after its launch from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel November 15, 2012. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

LONDON: The Iranian-made Fajr 5 rocket fired at Tel Aviv by Palestinian militants has a far greater range than the home-made Qassam rockets used by Hamas in Gaza, but neither are very accurate, experts say.

Fajr 5 rockets can be fired from the back of a 6x6 truck and can hit targets up to 75 kilometres (46 miles) away, according to London-based defence analysts IHS Jane's.

This compares to a range of between four and 13 kilometres for the Qassam rockets normally used by Hamas, added Douglas Barrie, senior fellow for military aerospace at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Manufactured by Shahid Bagheri Industries of Tehran and marketed by Iran's Aerospace Industries Organisation, the 6.5-metre-long (21-foot) Fajr 5 rockets are used by the Iranian army, according to Jane's Ammunition Handbook.

They are also thought to have been supplied to Hezbollah.

Lebanon's most powerful military force "received long-range rockets in 2006 that they designate as the Khaibar-1. It is suspected that these may have been Fajr-5 rockets", the handbook said.

The 333-mm calibre rockets weighing 915 kilos (2,013 pounds) can be fired every four or eight seconds and the standard warhead contains 90 kg of explosive ignited by a nose-mounted impact fuse.

But the rockets lack the precision of a guided missile.

"Fajr 5 is a rocket rather than a missile. It is not guided as such. That is how we differentiate it," said Gareth Jennings, managing editor of IHS Jane's Missiles and Rockets.

Barrie also told AFP: "None of the rockets has any form of terminal guidance and lack accuracy."

He explained: "The Qassam family of rockets (there are several versions) are small, and pretty basic designs of a much smaller size than the Fajr, with therefore a far shorter range.

"The Qassam 1 is generally considered to have a maximum range of around 4km, the Qassam II has a range of up to 10km and the Qassam III around 13km. Explosive warhead weight varies from 1-10kg depending on the Qassam version.

"The Fajr by comparison is much larger, heavier, and with greater range. The Fajr 3 has a range believed to be in excess of 40km with that of the Fajr 5 greater than 70km."





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