According to the reputable military magazine janes.com, the IDF has finally revealed details of the missile-firing Pere (‘Savage’), which was developed in the wake of the 1973 war, when Israeli military planners realized that the IDF needed additional firepower to stop massive Syrian tank formations pouring across the Golan Heights.
According to Janes, the IDF converted about 40 of its by-then obsolescent M48 tanks so they could fire the Tamuz missile. The Peres were fitted with dummy barrels to mimic a 105 mm main gun and give the impression they are still tanks. Syrian intelligence would consequently not consider the vehicles an immediate threat if it spotted them behind the front line, when in fact the Peres would have been in a position to bombard an advancing armoured formation with long-range anti-tank missiles. For that reason the Tamuz missile launchers remained a closely guarded secrets.
Israel’s security environment has changed dramatically since the vehicle’s conception. By 2005 the threat of conventional war had faded, only to be replaced by conflict against heavily armed, asymmetrical foes such as Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The Pere fleet has been upgraded to keep it relevant to contemporary operational requirements. The vehicles are now linked to the IDF’s Torch command-and-control system, allowing them to receive intelligence on the co-ordinates of targets from a range of sources.
According to Janes, the Pere’s first operational use was not until 2005, when it returned fire on Palestinian attackers in the Gaza Strip. It then participated in the July-August 2006 war with Hizbullah, during which Pere units fired 527 missiles. In the 2008-09 Operation ‘Cast Lead’ against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Peres fired 26 Tamuz missiles. Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2012, Peres deployed to the Golan Heights have carried out numerous strikes on Syrian positions in retaliation for cross-border fire. Most recently, the vehicles fired 433 missiles during the 50-day Operation ‘Protective Edge’ against Hamas.