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The Sky Sonic: Rafael’s new hypersonic missile interceptor [VIDEO]

By Arie Egozi

Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has announced the development of the Sky Sonic, a groundbreaking system designed to intercept hypersonic missiles.

The Sky Sonic interceptor represents a significant advancement in hypersonic missile defence, offering exceptional maneuverability and high-speed capabilities. It effectively neutralizes hypersonic missiles, which travel at ten times the speed of sound, with unparalleled precision and stealth. Rafael will showcase the interceptor at the Paris Air Show to demonstrate its commitment to pushing the boundaries of air defence technology.

 

 

The increasing threat posed by hypersonic missiles has led to the need for proactive measures to protect national security. Rafael, renowned for its pioneering defence systems such as the “Iron Dome,” “David’s Sling,” and the cutting-edge “Iron Beam” laser-based system, is proud to be at the forefront of developing an effective solution to counter hypersonic threats.

Dr. Yuval Steinitz, Chairman of Rafael, stated, “Rafael has recognized the growing international interest and opportunities resulting from proven operational capabilities and the geopolitical landscape. We closely monitor the developments and emerging threats in the current security context and strive to develop the most advanced defence systems. Project Sky Sonic represents an innovative and unique response to the hypersonic weapon threat.”

Major General Yoav Har Even, CEO of Rafael, emphasized the company’s belief in overcoming seemingly impossible challenges. Rafael’s systems have received record-breaking orders, with a backlog of over 40 billion NIS. As a successful global business, Rafael remains a significant pillar in Israel’s security.

Brigadier General Pini Yungman, Executive Vice President and Head of the Air Defence Division at Rafael, highlighted Rafael’s reputation as a leading global manufacturer of air defence systems. From the groundbreaking Iron Dome to the David’s Sling and Spyder , Rafael continues to develop next-generation systems to defend against future threats.




Hypersonic missiles pose a new family of threats, including hypersonic atmospheric cruise missiles, gliders, and cruisers that maintain exceptional accuracy and maneuverability while traveling at incredible speeds. Unlike ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles can change their course mid-flight. To successfully defend against hypersonic threats, a multifaceted approach is required, involving countering their speed and effectively tracking, detecting, and intercepting their unpredictable flight paths.

Developing a comprehensive defensive response to hypersonic threats presents complex challenges, including the need for synchronized sensor systems to accurately identify and locate threats throughout their trajectory. Accurate trajectory prediction requires an interceptor capable of quickly reaching the target, minimizing uncertainty in target location. Additionally, the interceptor must exhibit exceptional maneuverability and operate on a non-ballistic trajectory to effectively neutralize hypersonic threats.

Rafael revealed that the new interceptor will utilize national early warning systems, which serve other Israeli multi-tiered systems against rockets and ballistic missiles. The Sky Sonic interceptor will intercept hypersonic missiles either through kinetic kill or by activating its special warhead using a proximity fuse.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has been briefed on the new systems and has acknowledged its significance as a major breakthrough.




According to Defense Industry Europe, Israeli experts have analyzed data related to the new hypersonic missile developed by Iran. They have concluded that it poses a significant threat to Israel and potentially to some European countries. The current version of the Iranian missile has a range of 1400 km, and advanced versions may have even greater range.

Israel will need to upgrade its multi-tiered missile defence systems to effectively counter the new threat posed by Iranian hypersonic missiles. The IRGC of Iran presented the FATTAH Hypersonic ballistic missile on June 6, 2023. Israeli senior experts have confirmed its hypersonic capabilities.

The Iranian missile has a diameter of approximately 1 meter and is around 15.3 meters long. It has a takeoff weight of approximately 12 tons, including nearly 9 tons.

 

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