Video footage has emerged of Israeli-made LAR-160 light artillery rockets being used by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Sudan against the Sudanese army. The RSF is a paramilitary force that is allied with the Sudanese government.
The LAR-160 is a 160mm caliber multiple rocket launcher that can fire up to 26 rockets at a time. It has a range of up to 45 kilometers and can be used to attack a variety of targets, including infantry, armor, and artillery.
The launcher seen in the RSF footage was mounted in a light truck. Sudan is not known to operate the type, hence it is likely that the RSF acquired the artillery from a different source.
The LAR-160 rocket artillery has a standard launcher that can hold two 13-rocket Launch Pod Containers (LPCs) for mounting on trucks or trailers, 18-rocket LPCs for mounting on medium armored vehicles, or 26-rocket LPCs for mounting on main battle tank chassis. A lightweight version is also available, which can be carried by helicopters or towed behind tactical vehicles. The weapon also come in a guided-rocket variant called the Accular-160 model with a range of 25 miles.
Israeli Military Industry’s mounted the LAR-160 on a 6×6 Lynx multiple rocket launcher truck. The IDF’s artillery branch also operates a variant of the rocket launcher known as the PULS on Oshkosh 8×8 HEMTT trucks under the designation Lahav (blade).
The RSF is a powerful militia that is fighting the Sudanese government. This acquisition has sparked debates over the origin of these weapons and the potential implications for the ongoing conflict in Sudan.
Current users of the LAR-160 rocket artillery includes Israel, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Romania, Venezuela, and Chile.
The historical background of Israel’s previous arms sales to Sudan adds context to this situation. Given their history of arms transactions, it’s plausible that these artillery pieces could be linked to past deals, including the possibility of illicit arms trade, which may have bolstered the arsenals of different armed groups.
In April, an advisor to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group has made a bizarre comparison between his faction’s war with the army to Israel’s fight against Palestinian groups.
“What we are exposed to, Israel has suffered thousands of times from terrorist groups, such as Hamas and other factions that Israeli citizens know well,” Youssef Ezzat, an advisor to RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo told Israel’s Kan broadcaster.
His comments appeared to be an attempt by the RSF to gain Israeli favour.
This August, it was established that fighters of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are fielding the Israeli-made 7.62x39mm IWI Galil ACE 31 carbine with Thermal/NV scope, also likely acquire through a different source.
Sudan agreed to normalise relations with Israel in 2020 following heavy pressure from the administration of former US President Donald Trump. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco all normalised relations with Israel that year under the controversial ‘Abraham Accords’.
However, unlike those countries, Sudan has not exchanged ambassadors with Israel and the Sudanese population remains largely opposed to normalising relations.
Regardless of the origin of the LAR-160, this militia is formidable and heavily armed, with a track record of alleged human rights violations. The possession of advanced weaponry heightens concerns about its potential for future acts of violence.
In June, Sudan’s military initiated an offensive against the paramilitary Rapid Support Force (RSF). The offensive aims to retake key areas that were under the control of the RSF, a powerful and controversial paramilitary group in the country. With massive artillery strikes and air raids targeting strategic RSF installations and troop clusters, the military’s actions mark a crucial turning point in Sudan’s ongoing political landscape.
Israeli diplomats have been communicating with both Burhan and Hemedti as part of mediation efforts, according to an Israeli official, with the aim of de-escalating the situation and creating conditions for the establishment of a civilian government.