Full Publication

Estimates for Hezbollah's Arsenal

Weapons seized off the Francop, bound for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.
(Photo by IDF spokesperson.  Available at Wikimedia.)
 
 
Introduction
2010 Total Arsenal Estimates
2006 Arsenal Composition
Recently Intercepted Arms Shipments

Lebanese Hezbollah has a diverse modern arsenal that contributes to its political power in Lebanon and adds credibility to its threats against Israel. Hezbollah’s recent acquisition of Fateh 110 missiles, which can strike Tel Aviv, has increased the danger it poses to Israeli security. Recent reports indicate that the group is continuing to expand its ballistic missile arsenal by acquiring Syrian Scud missiles.  Hezbollah’s possession and continued acquisition of weapons is in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which required that all Lebanese militias disarm following the July 2006 war in which Hezbollah displayed its anti-ship, anti-tank, and UAV capabilities.  It has not, however, claimed credit for any rocket attacks on Israel since the ceasefire. 

By all accounts Hezbollah’s stockpile is now more powerful and sophisticated than what the Lebanese army possesses.  Its position within the national unity government permits Hezbollah to wield great influence within the government and it has succeeded in delaying the discussion of its arsenal at the national defense strategy talks.  Those in Lebanon who seek to subsume Hezbollah’s militia into the Lebanese Armed Forces do not have the political power to achieve such a goal at this point.  Hezbollah is likely to retain its independent military force for the foreseeable future.

The presentation of Hezbollah’s arsenal that follows was drawn from available published information.  It is not definitive because Hezbollah has traditionally understated its capabilities– the use of a cruise missile in the July 2006 war, for example, surprised analysts.  Israel also appears to have underestimated the size and strength of the Hezbollah arsenal in that war. 

Please see the Iran-Lebanese Hezbollah Relationship Tracker 2010 for updated information regarding arms transfers to the group.

 
2010 Total Arsenal Estimates:

Estimates of Hezbollah’s overall missile arsenal range from 40,000 to 50,000 large-caliber munitions of all kinds.[1] Israel estimates that Hezbollah has about 40,000, most of them shorter-range rockets and mortar shells.[2]

Weapons Reportedly Possessed by Hezbollah:

Katyusha/Grad Rockets[3]

10-20 kg payload, 40 km range, unguided.  This was the main weapon used by Hezbollah during July 2006 war.

Fajr Missiles – 120 missiles[4]

Fajr 3[5]

45 kg payload, 45 km range, unguided.

Fajr 5[6]

90 kg payload, 70 km range, unguided.

 220mm Rocket[7]

70 km range, unguided, Syrian origin.  220mm rockets are thought to have hit Haifa, Israel in July 2006 war.

302mm Rocket[8]

100 km range, unguided, Syrian origin.

C-802 Anti-Shipping Cruise Missile[9]

165 kg payload, 120 km range, Iranian origin.  A C-802 hit the Israeli ship Hanit during the July 2006 war, crippling the ship’s propulsion system and killing four sailors.

Shahin I[10]

190 kg payload, 13 km range, unguided, Iranian origin.

Fateh 110/M600[11] – “hundreds” of missiles[12]

200-250 kg payload, 200 km range, GPS guidance. First reported to have been transferred to Hezbollah in 2007. M600 is the Syrian equivalent of the Iranian Fateh 110.  Israeli defense officials said that Syria had supplied Hezbollah with M600 missiles in the past year.[13]

Zelzal 2[14]

600 kg payload, 200-400 km range, unguided, Iranian origin.  There are reports that Hezbollah started to acquire Zelzal 2 missiles before the 2006 war.  Hezbollah sources told the Kuwaiti paper al Rai that Hezbollah possesses a wide range of missiles with a heavy payload, including the 1-ton Zelzal missile and half-ton Fateh 110 and M600 missiles.[15]

Scud C/D[16]The Times of London reported in May 2010 that Israeli and American intelligence agencies believe that at least two missiles have been transferred from Syria to Hezbollah.  Reports of an alleged transfer of Scud missiles emerged in early April 2010. The origin of transferred missiles is unclear, but Syria’s Scud C’s are believed to be from Russia, while it developed its own Scud D with technical assistance from North Korea. The Scud D has a guidance system, while the Scud C does not.

770 kg payload, 550-700 km range.

AT-3 Sagger[17]

Russian-made MCLOS guided anti-tank missile. Effective range of up to 3 km. Supplied by Syria.

AT-4 Fagot[18]

Russian-made SACLOS guided anti-tank missile. Effective range of up to 2.5 km. Supplied by Syria.

AT-5 Spandrel[19]

Russian-made guided anti-tank missile. Effective range of up to 4 km. Hezbollah allegedly uses Iranian-made copies of the weapons according to Israeli reports.

AT-13 Metis[20]

Russian anti-tank weapon smuggled to Hezbollah by Syria. AT-13 missiles were used to destroy Israeli Merkava tanks during 2006 war. Effective range of up to 1.5 km.

AT-14 Kornet[21]

Advanced Russian laser-guided anti-tank weapon used to disable Israeli Merkava tanks during the 2006 war. The AT-14 has an effective range of up to 5 km. Israeli reports suggest Syria supplied Hezbollah with the weapon systems.

RPG-29[22]

Unguided Russian-made rocket-propelled grenade capable of penetrating tank armor, supplied to Hezbollah by Syria. Effective range of up to 500 meters. Israeli officials claim that the RPG-29 was a leading cause of IDF casualties during the 2006 war, penetrating Merkava tank armor on multiple occasions.

Mirsad 1/ Ababil T[23]

Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicle used by Hezbollah for reconnaissance. The UAV was seen flying over northern Israeli territory as early as 2004. The drone is capable of firing a missile with one 45 kg warhead. Israeli officials have said that Hezbollah received 12 drones prior to the 2006 war, and that Israeli planes have downed three of the aircraft.

Defensive Missiles Reportedly Possessed by Hezbollah:

SA-2[24]

Large ground-fired anti-aircraft missile of Russian origin that uses command guidance. The weapon system has the ability to hit high-altitude target with a 200 kg warhead. Hezbollah operatives trained on SA-2s in Syrian territory according to a January 2010 report in the Kuwaiti al Rai newspaper.

Flight ceiling: 20 km

SA-7[25]

Shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile with infrared homing device. The SA-7 is of Russian origin and is supplied by Syria and Iran.

Flight ceiling: 2.3 km

SA-8[26]

Amphibious mobile anti-aircraft vehicle with multiple missile launchers that uses radar homing device. The SA-8 is of Russian origin and is supplied by Syria.

Flight ceiling: 12 km

SA-14[27]

Shoulder-fired anti-aircraft rocket with infrared homing device.  The SA-14 is of Russian origin and is supplied by Iran.

Flight ceiling: 2.3 km

SA-16/18[28]

Shoulder-fired anti-aircraft rocket with two-color infrared homing device. The SA-16/18 is of Russian origin and is supplied by Iran.

Flight ceiling: 3.5 km

ZU-23[29]

Stationary unit with twin 23mm anti-aircraft guns that can be attached to a trailer. The ZU-23 is of Russian origin.

Effective altitude range: 1.5-2 km

 
2006 Arsenal Composition:[30]

            Short-range rockets (regular and extended range Katyushas)

Pre-war: 10,000-16,000

Post-war: around 7,000

 Fajr 3: IAF reports that between 24 and 30 launchers and launch vehicles, carrying up to 14 rockets each, were present during the war.

(offensive) Zelzal 3; CS 801; AT-3 Sagger Two; Kornet; either the Mirsad 1 or Ababil T Swallow; Syrian 220mm rocket; Fajr 5; Syrian 302mm rocket; C-802 missile

(defensive) SA-8; SA-14; SA-16

 
Recently Intercepted Arms Shipments:

In November 2009, Israeli forces seized a freighter named the Francop allegedly en route from Iran to the Syrian port of Latakia which contained, according to reports, thousands of medium-range 107- and 122-mm rockets (Katyushas), armor-piercing artillery, mortar bombs, hand grenades, and ammunition for Kalashnikov rifles possibly destined for Lebanon for use by Hezbollah.[31]

In October 2009, U.S. Navy personnel found seven containers filled with Kalashnikov ammunition onboard the German cargo ship Hansa India after boarding the vessel in the Suez Canal. The ship, which was on lease to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), was allowed to continue onto Malta where the containers were confiscated. The ship was allegedly en route from Iran to Syria, where the ammunition may have been intended to be transferred to Hezbollah.[32]

In January 2009, U.S. Navy forces boarded the Cypriot-flagged Iranian cargo ship Monchegorsk in the Red Sea for allegedly attempting to transport materiel to Syria in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559. Navy personnel found artillery shells aboard, and escorted the ship to Cyprus, where customs authorities detained the cargo. The ship was under lease to the IRISL.[33]

In May 2007, Turkish authorities seized weapons from a train destined for Syria from Iran after Kurdish militants derailed the train with a bomb. The Dogan news agency reported the weapons included a rocket launch pad and 300 rockets.[34]

 


[1]Howard Schneider, “Hezbollah’s Relocation of Rocket Sites to Lebanon’s Interior Poses Wider Threat,” Washington Post, January 23, 2010.  Available: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/22/AR2010012204494.html
[2] High-ranking Israeli officials have stated different estimates for the Hezbollah arsenal.  They are as follows:
40,000 – Ehud Barak, Israeli Defense Minister, September 2008
60-70,000 – Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, February 2010
80,000 – Shimon Peres, Israeli President, August 2009
Available from the following sources:
Ari Rabinovitch, “Israel’s Barak Warns of Growing Hezbollah Arsenal,” Reuters, September 10, 2008.  Available: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LA318892.htm
“Netanyahu: Israel Not Planning War with Iran,” al Manar, February 17, 2010.  Available: http://www.almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=124886
Avi Issacharaoff, “Peres: Isreal Knows Hezbollah Has 80,000 Rockets,” Haaretz, August 24, 2009.  Available: http://www,haaretz.com/print-edition/news/peres-israel-knows-hezbollah-has-80-000-rockets-1.282579
[3] “Hezbollah’s Rocket Force,” BBC News, July 18, 2006.  Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5187974.stm
Bryan Bender, “Hezbollah Arsenal May Be Substantial,” Boston Globe, July 18, 2006.  Available: http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2006/07/18/hezbollah_arsenal_may_be_substantial
[4] Dan Darling, “Hezbollah’s Arsenal,” The Weekly Standard, July 31, 2006.  Available: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/481ydesv.asp
[5] “Hezbollah’s Rocket Force,” BBC News, July 18, 2006.  Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5187974.stm
“Hizballah Rockets,” Global Security.  Available: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/hizballah-rockets.htm
[6] “Hezbollah’s Rocket Force,” BBC News, July 18, 2006.  Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5187974.stm
“Hizballah Rockets,” Global Security.  Available: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/hizballah-rockets.htm
[7] Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker, “Arming of Hezbollah Reveals U.S. and Israeli Blind Spots,” New York Times, July 19, 2006.  Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/19/world/middleeast/19missile.html?pagewanted=print
Uzi Rubin, “The Rocket Campaign Against Israel During the 2006 Lebanon War,” The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies Bar-Ilan University, Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 71, June 2007.  Available: http://www.biu.ac.il/Besa/MSPS71.pdf
[8] Uzi Rubin, “The Rocket Campaign Against Israel During the 2006 Lebanon War,” The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies Bar-Ilan University, Mideast Security and Policy Studies No. 71, June 2007.  Available: http://www.biu.ac.il/Besa/MSPS71.pdf
Anthony H. Cordesman, “Preliminary ‘Lessons’ of the Israeli-Hezbollah War,” Working Draft, August 17, 2006.  Available: http://www.mafhoum.com/press9/284P51.pdf
[9] Mara E. Karlin, “Lebanon’s Scud Row,” Foreign Affairs, May 13, 2010.  Available:  http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/66413/mara-e-karlin/lebanons-scud-row?page=2
Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker, “Arming of Hezbollah Reveals U.S. and Israeli Blind Spots,” New York Times, July 19, 2006.  Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/19/world/middleeast/19missile.html?pagewanted=print 
[10] “Hezbollah’s Rocket Force,” BBC News, July 18, 2006.  Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5187974.stm
Hala Jaber, “Hezbollah: We’ve Planned This for 6 Years,” The Sunday Times, July 30, 2006.  Available: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article1084215.ece
[11] Nicholas Blandford, “Lebanon Dismisses Scud Claims as ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ Scaremongering,” The Sunday Times, April 20, 2010.  Available: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7103137.ece
Yaakov Katz and Rebecca Anna Stoil, “Hizbullah Received Hundreds of Syrian Missiles,” Jerusalem Post, May 5, 2010.  Available: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=174792
[12] Mara E. Karlin, “Lebanon’s Scud Row,” Foreign Affairs, May 13, 2010.  Available:  http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/66413/mara-e-karlin/lebanons-scud-row?page=2
[13] “Syria Gave Advanced M-600 Missiles to Hezbollah, Defense Officials Claim,” Haaretz, May 5, 2010. Available: http://www.haaretz.com/news/syria-gave-advanced-m-600-missiles-to-hezbollah-defense-officials-claim-1.288356
[14] “Hizballah Rockets,” Global Security.  Available: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/hizballah-rockets.htm
“Hezbollah’s Rocket Force,” BBC News, July 18, 2006.  Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5187974.stm
[15] “Hizbullah Sources: Israel Will Be Bombarded With 15 Tons of Explosives a Day In Case of a War,” Nahar Net, May 18, 2010. Available: http://www.naharnet.com/domino/tn/NewsDesk.nsf/0/C57030D6D391B08DC2257727004D2935?OpenDocument
[16] Richard Beeston, “Syria Accused of Arming Hezbollah from Secret Bases,” The Times, May 28, 2010.  Available: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7138763.ece
[17] “Israel, Hezbollah Assess Arsenal, Consider Lessons As War Halts,” Bloomberg, August 16, 2009. Available: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=aJZ6iLvFjso0&refer=home
Anthony H. Cordesman, “Preliminary ‘Lessons’ of the Israeli-Hezbollah War,” Working Draft, August 17, 2006.  Available: http://www.mafhoum.com/press9/284P51.pdf
[18] “Israel, Hezbollah Assess Arsenal, Consider Lessons As War Halts,” Bloomberg, August 16, 2009. Available: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=aJZ6iLvFjso0&refer=home
Anthony Cordesman and William D. Sullivan, Lessons of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War, CSIS Press, Washington, 2007, p. 101
[19] Anthony Cordesman and William D. Sullivan, Lessons of the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War, CSIS Press, Washington, 2007, p. 101
David Handling, “Hezbollah’s Thermobaric Arsenal (Maybe),” Defense Tech, August 22, 2006. Available: http://defensetech.org/2006/08/22/hezbollahs-thermobaric-arsenal-maybe/
[20] “Tough Lessons For Israeli Armor,” BBC News, August 15, 2006. Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4794829.stm
Anthony H. Cordesman, “Preliminary ‘Lessons’ of the Israeli-Hezbollah War,” Working Draft, August 17, 2006.  Available: http://www.mafhoum.com/press9/284P51.pdf
[21] “Tough Lessons For Israeli Armor,” BBC News, August 15, 2006. Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4794829.stm
Anthony H. Cordesman, “Preliminary ‘Lessons’ of the Israeli-Hezbollah War,” Working Draft, August 17, 2006.  Available: http://www.mafhoum.com/press9/284P51.pdf
[22] “Hezbollah Anti-Tank Fire Causing Most IDF Casualties in Lebanon,” Haaretz, June 8, 2006. Available: http://www.haaretz.com/news/hezbollah-anti-tank-fire-causing-most-idf-casualties-in-lebanon-1.194528
Anthony H. Cordesman, “Preliminary ‘Lessons’ of the Israeli-Hezbollah War,” Working Draft, August 17, 2006.  Available: http://www.mafhoum.com/press9/284P51.pdf
[23] “Hezbollah Mirsad-1 UAV Penetrates Israeli Air Defenses,” Defense Industry Daily, April 20, 2005. Available: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/hezbollah-mirsad1-uav-penetrates-israeli-air-defenses-0386/ 
“Hizbullah’s Worrisome Weapon,” Newsweek, September 11, 2006, www.nexis.com
Anthony H. Cordesman, “Preliminary ‘Lessons’ of the Israeli-Hezbollah War,” Working Draft, August 17, 2006.  Available: http://www.mafhoum.com/press9/284P51.pdf
[24] Jack Khoury, “U.S. Official: Arming of Hezbollah Could Spark Israel-Syria War,” Haaretz, January 17, 2010.  Available: http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/news/u-s-official-arming-of-hezbollah-could-spark-israel-syria-war-1.261573
“Report: Hezbollah Trains on Missiles,” UPI, January 17, 2010. Available: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/International/2010/01/17/Report-Hezbollah-trains-on-missiles/UPI-51221263741141/
[25]Andrew McGregor, “Hezbollah’s Tactics and Capabilities in Southern Lebanon,” Jamestown Foundation, August 1, 2006. Available: http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=860
Anthony H. Cordesman, “Preliminary ‘Lessons’ of the Israeli-Hezbollah War,” Working Draft, August 17, 2006.  Available: http://www.mafhoum.com/press9/284P51.pdf
[26] Uzi Mahnaimi, “Slain Syrian Aide Supplied Missiles to Hezbollah,” The Sunday Times, August 10, 2008.  Available: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article4493334.ece
“Report: Syria Arms Hezbollah With Scud Missiles,” Ynet News, April 13, 2010. Available: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3875186,00.html
[27] Anthony H. Cordesman, “Preliminary ‘Lessons’ of the Israeli-Hezbollah War,” Working Draft, August 17, 2006.  Available: http://www.mafhoum.com/press9/284P51.pdf
“Iran to Supply Hezbollah With Russian-Made Surface-to-Air Missiles,” Jane’s Information Group, August 7, 2006. Available: http://www.missilethreat.com/archives/id.294/detail.asp
[28] Anthony H. Cordesman, “Preliminary ‘Lessons’ of the Israeli-Hezbollah War,” Working Draft, August 17, 2006.  Available: http://www.mafhoum.com/press9/284P51.pdf
“Iran to Supply Hezbollah With Russian-Made Surface-to-Air Missiles,” Jane’s Information Group, August 7, 2006. Available: http://www.missilethreat.com/archives/id.294/detail.asp
[29] Andrew McGregor, “Hezbollah’s Tactics and Capabilities in Southern Lebanon,” Jamestown Foundation, August 1, 2006. Available: http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=860
[30] Anthony H. Cordesman, “Preliminary ‘Lessons’ of the Israeli-Hezbollah War,” Working Draft, August 17, 2006.  Available: http://www.mafhoum.com/press9/284P51.pdf
[31] Jeremy M. Sharp, “Syria: Background and U.S. Relations,” Congressional Research Service, RL33487, April 26, 2010.  Available: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33487.pdf
[32] “German Ship Transporting Arms For Iran,” Der Spiegel, October 12, 2009. Available: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,654596,00.html
[33] Michael Rubin, “The Enduring Iran-Syria-Hezbollah Axis,” AEI Middle East Outlook, December 2009.  Available: http://www.aei.org/outlook/100098
“Cyprus Unloads Weapons From Iranian Ship Detained En Route To Gaza,” Jerusalem Post, February 13, 2009. Available: http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=132776
[34] “Turkey Seizes ‘Iranian’ Weapons,” al Jazeera, May 31, 2007. Available: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2007/05/2008525143259430498.html