Military Review

Anti-aircraft missile and gun system "Mahbet" (Israel)


ZSU "Howet", the American M163 in service with the IDF. Wikimedia Commons Photos

Israel is known for its thrifty attitude to military equipment. Outdated samples undergo modernization, which allows you to keep them in service and get the desired results. In the nineties, similar processes were observed in the field of military air defense. The obsolete anti-aircraft self-propelled guns “Howet” were modernized according to the “Mahbet” project. The resulting combat vehicles favorably with the base models.

Outdated imports

In the late sixties, the U.S. Army received the latest M163 Vulcan Air Defense System ZSU, made on the M113 BTR chassis and armed with a 20 mm M61 cannon. Soon, such equipment was exported and entered service with third countries. One of the customers of the M163 was Israel. In AOI self-propelled gun appeared in the very beginning of the eighties and received the designation "Howet."

ZSU "Howet" used in all wars and operations since the beginning of the eighties. They were actively used in battles both for their intended purpose and to support the ground forces. On the account of the combat crews, a lot of destroyed targets, including one downed enemy plane. The last combat episodes with the participation of the "Howets" relate to the two thousandth year.

In the early nineties, the United States decided to write off the M163 ZSU due to the final obsolescence and inconsistency with modern requirements. AOI did not take an example from foreign colleagues and kept the Howet in service. At the same time, it became clear that in order to continue the service, this equipment needs to be deeply modernized.

Anti-aircraft missile and gun system "Mahbet" (Israel)
Missile-cannon complex "Mahbet". Photo

The update was supposed to affect the complex of weapons and controls. The terms of reference for the new project required equipping the ZSU with modern optical search tools, a new fire control system, etc. The 20-mm six-barrel gun was proposed to be supplemented with guided missiles. The resulting anti-aircraft missile-gun complex could continue to serve for a long time.

Project "Racket"

The development of the Khoveta modernization began no later than 1993. Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI) received an order for the work. She had to find all the necessary units and integrate them into the design of the existing machine without its cardinal restructuring. The modernized ZSU received the name "Mahbet" ("Bat" or "Racket").

When developing a new project, the design of the carrier machine was almost completely preserved. Only a few changes were introduced related to the installation of certain devices. They did the same with the turret and the artillery system - however, in their case, the volume of innovations was greater.

On the tower, above the swinging artillery unit, a whole set of new devices appeared. Blocks of optoelectronic equipment with a day and night channel, as well as a laser range finder, were mounted at the installation. The radar range finder, standard for the M163 / Howet, was deleted.

Developed a new OMS with advanced features. Its main element was the central control unit based on the Intel 486DX / 33 processor. It was made in the form of a secure remote laptop with a monitor, controls, etc. The MSA is interfaced with a satellite navigation system and other devices. There were means of communication capable of receiving target designation. ZSU "Mahbet" were supposed to work in conjunction with the search radar of various types.

Updated tower close-up. Photo

A new recorder included a video recorder. With its help, it was proposed to record the signal from optical means - for further analysis and analysis of the actions of the crew and the enemy.

The existing gun was supplemented with guided missiles. To the right of the tower appeared a bracket for a launcher for four FIM-92 Stinger missiles. The installation was made mobile, with vertical aiming along with the gun. It was alleged that the appearance of missiles allows attacking several targets at the same time, while the ZHV “Howet” could work only one at a time.

The rearrangement of the internal compartments led to a reduction in the ammunition load of the gun from 2100 to 1800 shells. Missile ammunition - 8 units. Half were transported on the launcher, the rest were located inside the hull. The unit was recharged manually.

The deep modernization of on-board equipment and weapons had a significant impact on the performance characteristics. Dimensions and weight, as well as running characteristics, have not changed. At the same time, the presence of missiles allowed to increase the range and altitude of target destruction. Modern SLA has increased the efficiency of observation and search for targets with their subsequent shelling.

From test to service

The prototype SAM system "Mahbet" was performed on the basis of the serial machine "Howet." Tests of this machine took place in 1997 and did not take much time. The chassis was not modified and therefore did not need to be checked. The tests affected only a new complex of electronic equipment and weapons.

"Mahbeth" with additional reservation. Photo

The tests did not reveal any serious problems, and IAI received an order for a serial modernization of equipment. Already in 1997, the army was given the first divisional self-propelled guns. The development of equipment by the troops was proceeding at a rapid pace, and at the beginning of 1998 the first division of the ground forces reached combat readiness. During the same year, the equipment of the next division was modernized.

As of the end of the nineties in the Air Force and ground forces of the IDF there were no more than 130-150 ZSU “Howet”. According to the plans of that time, all of them had to undergo repairs and modernization to the state of "Mahbet". In addition, the new project was supposed to be launched on the international market and receive profitable contracts.

However, such plans were only partially implemented. According to The Military Balance, at present, air defense units from the ground forces are armed with only 20 modernized Machbet vehicles. The Air Force continues to operate the old Howet ZSU in an amount of more than 100 units. Thus, the update received only a small fraction of the total number of vehicles. On the other hand, the fleet of equipment of one of the branches of the armed forces underwent a complete modernization.

Plans to enter the international market have not been realized. Foreign operators of the M163 did not want to carry out modernization on the Israeli project. The reasons for this were various factors of a technical, economic and political nature.

Technique in battle

At the turn of the nineties and two thousandths, another round of the Arab-Israeli conflict began, and the recently adopted Mahbet air defense missile system went into battle for the first time. Such equipment has been repeatedly involved in combat missions in all operations of the beginning of the two thousandths.

Anti-aircraft self-propelled guns during Operation Khomat Magen, 2002. Missile launcher was removed from the vehicle. Photo

In those events, the IDF had to deal only with the land enemy, and therefore anti-aircraft self-propelled guns served as rapid-fire fire support systems. As the well-known photographs show, due to the absence of an air enemy, missile launchers were removed from the air defense missile systems, which improved the visibility a bit.

After that, the combat qualities of the air defense system were determined by the M61 cannon and modern SLA. Such a complex has proven to be an effective means to combat ground targets. With its help, it was possible to hit any structures, fortifications and enemy equipment. However, the IDF then did not fight with a well-equipped and trained army.

Uncertain Future

According to known data, in 2006, the Israeli ground forces carried out a large-scale restructuring of their air defense, as a result of which a lot of units were transferred to new equipment. ZSU and ZRPK recognized insufficiently effective, however, significant quantities of such military vehicles are still in operation.

How long the service of the remaining self-propelled guns "Howet" and "Mahbet" will last is unknown. The practical value of such a technique is ambiguous and generally not related to tasks in the context of air defense. In addition, there are several congenital deficiencies that adversely affect combat capabilities and overall potential.

It can be assumed that over the next few years, the IDF, known for its frugality, will retain the existing two types of anti-aircraft self-propelled guns, and the decommissioning will only affect equipment with a developed resource or unacceptable damage. “Howet” and “Mahbet” can be used in the battles of the future, but in the long run they will definitely be decommissioned due to complete moral and physical obsolescence.

The editorial board of Voenniy Obozreniye urgently needs a proofreader. Requirements: impeccable knowledge of the Russian language, diligence, discipline. Contact: [email protected]

Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. Aleksandr1971
    Aleksandr1971 April 3 2020 18: 13 New
    I wonder if this PKK "Makhbet" is aiming at the target? As if there is no radar on it. Is the fire control system based only on optical-electronic equipment? It seems that in this case, the effectiveness is not particularly great.
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov April 3 2020 18: 47 New
      Quote: Aleksandr1971
      I wonder if this PKK "Makhbet" is aiming at the target? As if there is no radar on it.

      External target designation.
      Well, a radio range finder is quite capable of replacing a modern laser.
    2. Aaron Zawi
      Aaron Zawi April 3 2020 19: 53 New
      Quote: Aleksandr1971
      I wonder if this PKK "Makhbet" is aiming at the target? As if there is no radar on it. Is the fire control system based only on optical-electronic equipment? It seems that in this case, the effectiveness is not particularly great.

      No way. All of these systems are decommissioned. To date, the troops have no mobile air defense systems. This is due to a complete restructuring of the aircraft. Today, there is a reduction in military operations and an increase in the Navy, missile defense and MTR.
      1. Private-K
        Private-K April 4 2020 10: 04 New
        Quote: Aron Zaavi
        All of these systems are decommissioned. To date, the troops have no mobile air defense systems. This is due to a complete restructuring of the aircraft

        Probably, the point is not in the "complete restructuring of the Armed Forces", but in the already very, completely inadequate performance characteristics of these Hovet / Makhbet and the absence of such an air threat for the IDF, which one could try to reflect with them. Moreover, in the presence of the Iron Dome, which is at least semi-stationary, but covers almost all the airspace where the IDF operates.
  2. Thrifty
    Thrifty April 3 2020 18: 32 New
    The 20mm gun is weak, already outdated. To effectively use this museum exhibit, you need to have a caliber of at least 57mm, otherwise, they will easily burn it in battle!
    1. Lopatov
      Lopatov April 3 2020 19: 04 New
      Quote: Thrifty
      The 20mm gun is weak, already outdated. To effectively use this museum exhibit, you need to have a caliber of at least 57mm, otherwise, they will easily burn it in battle!

      Better yet 155, as in the German "SmartCamp"
    2. chingachguc
      chingachguc 27 June 2020 17: 11 New
      to extinguish shahidomobiles - that’s it.
  3. Doccor18
    Doccor18 April 3 2020 18: 46 New
    Well, I don’t know, still nothing cooler than the Tunguska to this day, and will not be invented for a long time
    1. Zaurbek
      Zaurbek April 3 2020 19: 12 New
      So the Jews did not do it from scratch .... it must be compared with Shilka and the modernized Shilka.
      1. Doccor18
        Doccor18 April 3 2020 19: 14 New
        Yes, and Shilka upgraded with the Needles will be more toothy and goggle. At one time, she made a rustle.
        1. Lopatov
          Lopatov April 3 2020 19: 25 New
          Quote: Doccor18
          Yes, and Shilka upgraded with the Needles will be more toothy and goggle.

          "Volcano" is roughly 300 kg per minute.
          Volley weight.
          "Shilka" is only twice as large, roughly 650 kg

          Do not underestimate the American product.
          1. Zaurbek
            Zaurbek April 3 2020 20: 43 New
            Nevertheless, the 20mm Phalanx is the near missile defense of the American Navy ....
            1. Lopatov
              Lopatov April 3 2020 20: 54 New
              In the sense of "nevertheless"?
              And the land investigators use- in some artillery brigades there are such products

              During the "fight against ISIS" they were taken to Iraq. Either for its intended purpose to use C-RAM, or to defend against drones, for which the Americans were not ready at all
              1. Freedim
                Freedim 12 June 2020 19: 54 New
                Something like this...
        2. Private-K
          Private-K April 4 2020 10: 09 New
          Shilka has long been actually withdrawn from service with the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
          The cannon weapons are that Shilki, that Mahbeth is absolutely inadequate to modern air threats. Actually, it’s already at stake. 80s rapidly losing relevance. Therefore, in the USSR of the Russian Federation they were replaced by the Tunguska air defense system.
    2. Phantom 104
      Phantom 104 April 3 2020 19: 17 New
      Have you heard anything about the Shell-SM?
      1. Doccor18
        Doccor18 April 3 2020 19: 22 New
        Shilka and Tunguska are near air defense of the battlefield. The shell was once conceived as a replacement for the Tunguska in the future. However, the Union collapsed, it was not an objective task that came to the fore, but the problem of selling somewhere this is a miracle of technology for hard currency. Carapace-SM - this is no longer the near air defense battlefield. Dear he, to let him in with the tanks in a row.
    3. lucul
      lucul April 3 2020 19: 17 New
      Well, I don’t know, still nothing cooler than the Tunguska to this day, and will not be invented for a long time

      Tunguska needs to be given further rockets and the possibility of external target designation. That is, in fact, fit it into a new-fangled network centric - and will serve for another 50 years .....
      1. bk0010
        bk0010 April 3 2020 19: 34 New
        Quote: lucul
        and the possibility of external target designation
        From the point of it: at Tunguska, missiles are manually guided, by eye. Armed peephole, but still.
    4. bk0010
      bk0010 April 3 2020 19: 26 New
      Quote: Doccor18
      still nothing cooler than the Tunguska to this day, and will not be invented for a long time

      But it should be. The "partners" already have ATGMs with a range of 28 km. And every little thing, which is a pity for the rocket, but the cannon cannot hit. It was worth at least to remove the Pantsir-SM disease. Or raise the range of Thor to 40 km.
      1. Doccor18
        Doccor18 April 3 2020 19: 30 New
        If Tunguska and Thor were periodically modernized, then Appa Ameras would graze only in Africa, and even then not everywhere.
        1. Stalllker
          Stalllker April 3 2020 20: 10 New
          As if, in this version of the Torah and Tunguska, they graze in Siberia
  4. rocket757
    rocket757 April 3 2020 19: 51 New
    For their theater, it’s quite, at that moment, somewhere else, it is doubtful .... however, a skilled owner will find use even for a rusty nail.
  5. Pavel57
    Pavel57 April 3 2020 20: 03 New
    Shilka analog.
  6. Stalllker
    Stalllker April 3 2020 20: 09 New
    Drones if only to shoot down
  7. Gust
    Gust April 3 2020 21: 24 New
    They wrote off in vain, a good machine against drones, scare helicopters. Add a small panel of PHAR- and you can work on planning ammunition, MLRS, in the Kyrgyz Republic, even according to the situation. The same applies to Shilka.
    Tunguska is good of course, but the accuracy of the guns raises big questions. They were effective at a time when the missiles were large, well, or when attack aircraft / helicopters attacked from short distances. Now everything has changed - you need either shells with controlled detonation, or already switch to 57 mm and also with controlled detonation.
  8. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh April 3 2020 21: 50 New
    In our army, it was called "by the people" Volcano. I didn’t know that she was originally
    was anti-aircraft. It was only a volcano gun. And only applied
    on ground targets.
  9. riwas
    riwas April 4 2020 05: 40 New
    And the United States abandoned anti-aircraft artillery, on the M1097 Avenger only the FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS are installed.
  10. Strashila
    Strashila April 4 2020 06: 58 New
    And they began to use in fact similar to Shilka.
  11. Scharnhorst
    Scharnhorst April 4 2020 16: 38 New
    But I still prefer the layout of the sea "Pantsir-M", a kind of pumped-up two-handed Terminator.
    modern wheeled chassis suitable for him (maybe on "Boomerang"?)
  12. A. Privalov
    A. Privalov April 4 2020 16: 58 New
    Last time, I came across such a device about 15 years ago, and maybe more than that ...

  13. Boratsagdiev
    Boratsagdiev April 4 2020 18: 44 New
    A fancy computer, a video recorder, probably a minibar with cooling was hidden and other delights of life.
    Not a weak spot "for get-togethers" at the time.
    And when the degree rolls over or the routine gets bored, then you can shoot live ...