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Israel’s Rafael shows off home-grown hypersonic missile interceptor

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Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has taken the wraps off “Sky Sonic,” its advanced system for intercepting hostile hypersonic missiles traveling five times the speed of sound that will make its public debut at next week’s Paris Air Show.

Hypersonic weapons that can fly in excess of Mach 5 have long been seen as one of the next giant leaps in military technology. However, as various systems come closer to practical deployment, there’s greater urgency in not only developing hypersonic missiles, but anti-missile systems to counter them.

In the wake of recent reports that Iran has launched its own hypersonic missile, it isn’t surprising that Israel sees this as an existential threat, spurring on the efforts by Rafael to add Sky Sonic to its layered missile defense systems, including Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Iron Beam.

Since the system’s public rollout won’t be for a few days, Rafael is still a bit economical about the features of Sky Sonic. However, they had made clear that this is a complete system for neutralizing missiles flying at about Mach 10. That means it not only has to be able to counter the hypersonic missile’s speed, but also its maneuverability by quickly tracking using a synchronized sensor suite, detecting, and intercepting its unpredictable, low-altitude flight path. In addition, it has to be able to make the intercept quickly while being certain as to what is the missile’s target destination at any moment.

Artist’s concept of the Sky Sonic interceptor preparing to launch

Rafael

Exactly how fast Sky Sonic can fly hasn’t been released, but images from Raytheon show it with a booster and a powered warhead stage that is consistent with hypersonic interceptors being developed by other nations to fly at hypersonic speeds to overcome the hostile’s advantage.

In addition, if Sky Sonic is based on Rafael’s other anti-missile systems, it will use a kinetic kill method based on a direct intercept instead of an explosive warhead.

“RAFAEL has identified a marked increase and arousing interest in the international arena with proven operational capabilities and a geopolitical reality that has created many opportunities,” said Dr Yuval Steinitz, Chairman of Rafael. “We are following the developments and emerging threats in the current security context and are developing the most advanced defense systems. Project Sky Sonic is an innovative, unique development of its kind for the hypersonic weapon threat.”

The animation below shows Sky Sonic in action.

Sky Sonic

Source: Rafael




Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has taken the wraps off “Sky Sonic,” its advanced system for intercepting hostile hypersonic missiles traveling five times the speed of sound that will make its public debut at next week’s Paris Air Show.

Hypersonic weapons that can fly in excess of Mach 5 have long been seen as one of the next giant leaps in military technology. However, as various systems come closer to practical deployment, there’s greater urgency in not only developing hypersonic missiles, but anti-missile systems to counter them.

In the wake of recent reports that Iran has launched its own hypersonic missile, it isn’t surprising that Israel sees this as an existential threat, spurring on the efforts by Rafael to add Sky Sonic to its layered missile defense systems, including Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Iron Beam.

Since the system’s public rollout won’t be for a few days, Rafael is still a bit economical about the features of Sky Sonic. However, they had made clear that this is a complete system for neutralizing missiles flying at about Mach 10. That means it not only has to be able to counter the hypersonic missile’s speed, but also its maneuverability by quickly tracking using a synchronized sensor suite, detecting, and intercepting its unpredictable, low-altitude flight path. In addition, it has to be able to make the intercept quickly while being certain as to what is the missile’s target destination at any moment.

Artist's concept of the Sky Sonic interceptor preparing to launch
Artist’s concept of the Sky Sonic interceptor preparing to launch

Rafael

Exactly how fast Sky Sonic can fly hasn’t been released, but images from Raytheon show it with a booster and a powered warhead stage that is consistent with hypersonic interceptors being developed by other nations to fly at hypersonic speeds to overcome the hostile’s advantage.

In addition, if Sky Sonic is based on Rafael’s other anti-missile systems, it will use a kinetic kill method based on a direct intercept instead of an explosive warhead.

“RAFAEL has identified a marked increase and arousing interest in the international arena with proven operational capabilities and a geopolitical reality that has created many opportunities,” said Dr Yuval Steinitz, Chairman of Rafael. “We are following the developments and emerging threats in the current security context and are developing the most advanced defense systems. Project Sky Sonic is an innovative, unique development of its kind for the hypersonic weapon threat.”

The animation below shows Sky Sonic in action.

Sky Sonic

Source: Rafael

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