Ouch, ouch, ouch!
Here was the reply: (more follows)
He checked his findings with army experts and writes (and apologies that the links did not get through) :
There is no weapon that would deliver terminal effects consistent with the pictures, the alleged story and the reputed damage done to ambulance and people.
Here are some hard facts easily locatable on the internet via globalsecurity.org which is an invaluable open source free intelligence site.
The Israeli Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV or “drone") index is here. As you can see Israel fields 10 UAV types. Of the ones with technical specifications only the Harpy deploys a weapon payload. However as it is designed to support suppression of enemy air defence it would deploy a radar seeking missile capable of destroying a hardened air defence radar station. Clearly a Harpy wasn’t deployed.
A weapon deploying UAV would be one of the remaining three without technical specifications. Let’s assume it is similar to the US Predator an armed UAV. Here are its specifications and some photos. As you can see from the front page it deploys a Hellfire missile. Here are the hellfire missile specs and some photos. The missile itself is 64 inches or about 1.5m long, weighs around 100lb and has an explosive payload of around 35 lbs.
Clearly something like that slamming through a vehicle is going to destroy it even if it doesn’t go off, after all the missile is designed to kill a 70 tonne tank, so a half ton unarmoured ambulance doesn’t stand a chance.
Now if it didn’t explode there is a 1.5m long 35lb undetonated warhead stuck in the road somewhere near Qana. No doubt Martin Chulov can go and get a photo of it. Of course it is possible that Israel has no anti armoured missile armed UAV as well. I would love to know what Tony Jones’ source is for the Israelis using such a weapon system so that the data can be checked thoroughly.
Israel has two air to surface missiles. The hellfire is not listed so I assume the NT family is the Israeli equivalent. The Gabriel is an anti shipping missile and the NT family are anti armoured missiles. Unfortunately it has no real detailed specs listed and one non photographic image. You can see from its range of over 4km (from link page) that it needs to carry fuel and have a large propulsion and guidance unit, so it is probably smaller than the hellfire (less range) but the deliver system is likely to be at least 1m long.
Once again as it is designed to destroy tanks it would have a significant warhead that would obliterate a lite van ambulance. If it didn’t detonate it would go right through the floor and would be stuck in the road somewhere posing a significant danger to people in the area. Perhaps Martin Chulov could confirm with the UN Mine Action Centre in UNIFIL if they have any reports of unexploded missiles stuck in the road near Qana. Because if any of these weapons went off the vehicle would be incinerated.
Ofcourse there are no lesser warhead missiles listed for Israel, nor any I know of for the US. Who would field a $2 million missile only to equip it with a $200 war head that couldn’t even stop a van? It defies logic that this is the case and pursuing this line, as Tony Jones did on “Lateline”, is not so much a case of hope triumphing over common sense or experience, it is absolute idiocy. And no doubt Tony Jones has previously called “Military Intelligence” an Oxymoron!
Now going through this has taken me my lunch break. Of course twenty years military experience is more difficult to replicate but should the “Australian” or the ABC have really wanted to check the accuracy of its claims it could have gone to a military consulting company and got some independent bomb damage assessment from someone who knows what they are looking at. No doubt a number of people working in Aerospace in Australia, its associated media or companies like Boeing would have been able to provide a more reasonable verification of the story. But no, Martin Chulov goes and asks the guy who lied to him in the first place if he lied. The answer was a definite “no” with some modifications to the original version of events. Sounds a bit like “Justice” Einfeld!
At a minimum the Editor of the Australian owes Alexander Downer and the Australian public a full, fulsome and prominent editorial apology!