Israel is known for its... shall we say, “creativity” when it comes to warfare, and one of the oldest tricks in the book is hiding in plain sight. The Pereh, meaning “wild,” does just this by making itself look like a Merkava tank, but really it is a rolling guided missile arsenal ship that has been secret for over 30 years.
Even the vehicle’s main gun barrel is fake as part of the system’s elaborate masquerade. The Pereh is based on the M60 Patton main battle tank chassis and carries the Spike anti-tank guided missile, with 12 launch tubes built into the somewhat ungainly rear-end pop-up super-structure along with the system’s elaborate and super-sensitive optics.
Supposedly, the Pereh concept has been around for over thirty years, with only rumors of its existence circulating from time-to-time based on a few strange looking tank images that have leaked over the years. The weapon is said to have been active in nearly every major conflict that Israel has been a part of over the last two and a half decades.
In areas such as in and around the border with Lebanon, the Perehs could sit atop hills, taking out targets of opportunity and providing fire support from miles away. Think of it as very mobile, smart, accurate and timely artillery piece capable of hitting moving targets and collecting intelligence.
Depending on the version, the Spike missile (known locally as the Tammuz) has a range from about a mile and half in its most basic version, up to almost 15 miles in the Non-Line-Of-Sight (NLOS) version. The latest versions use dual mode Imaging Infrared and CCD seekers, which are highly accurate and reliable. It can also be fired in a direct fire profile or in a pop-up, overhead attack profile, detonating its high-explosive, anti-tank warhead from above.
The fact that the missile can be fired in a “fire and forget” mode, or in a man-in-the-loop command guidance mode allows it to be re-targeted mid-flight or even to hit targets concealed behind topography or man-made objects.
It is not clear which version of the Spike missile the most modernized Pereh carries, although the Spike NLOS would make the most sense. This would give the vehicle the ability to engage a wide array of targets over more than a dozen miles away, while looking like a tank that has an engagement range of just a fraction of that distance.
It is amazing that the Pereh has stayed largely in the shadows for so long, even while its ungainly self rolled past news cameras on occasion. In a few pictures the tank’s fake barrel was even crooked and clearly not capable of firing ammunition. It just goes to show you, that sometimes the best way to hide a capability is to not really hide it at all.
Photo credit JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images
Source: Israeli Defense
Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.