Israeli defense company Rafael unveiled a new, advanced air-to-surface missile for fixed-wing aircraft.
The missile has already been sold to one or more clients, whose identity is unknown, and it is in operational use.
According to Rafael, it’s designed to meet the complex needs of modern warfare. The company touted the missile’s lightweight design, lengthy range of 30 kilometers (18.5 mi.), high precision and ability to operate in a GPS-denied environment.
The missile employs electro-optical (camera and image-processing) guidance systems combined with infrared and ultraviolet-visible sensors. All of these sensors are “passive,” meaning they do not emit waves on the electromagnetic spectrum, making them very difficult for enemies to detect in time.
It also incorporates technology from Rafael’s well-known Spike Long-Range 2 precision-guidance missiles, including a technology known as “scene matching,” in which a processor onboard the missile compares the features of the terrain below with pre-programmed terrain features in order to understand its location and route.
In addition, the missile comes with a data link, allowing operators to stay in the loop. Its warhead includes anti-tank and blast-induced fragmentation features.
In a statement, Rafael said Aerospike’s precision, immunity and lethality provide a decisive and powerful solution for Close Air Support (CAS) missions—air action by fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft against hostile targets in close proximity to friendly forces—counterterrorism missions and operating in full-intensity conflicts in which adversaries are equipped with advanced systems designed to deny air movements.
The range possessed by the missile means that it is well-suited to target air-defense systems, mobile surface-to-air missile launch sites, armored vehicles and enemy targets in urban areas.
Rafael vice president Alon Shlomi, who heads the company’s Air-to-Surface Directorate, said the missile is well-designed for light attack aircraft, known as “Armed Overwatch” squadrons.
“Today’s battle arena is saturated with portable air-defense threats, like MANPADs [man portable air-defense systems—or shoulder-fired missiles], that require Combat Air Support elements to operate with greater precision and longer ranges; that is precisely what Aerospike brings to the modern battlefield.”
The missile also forms an alternative to laser-directed precision-guided missiles.
Rafael is also working with Israel’s Ministry of Defense and Elbit Systems to develop a high-powered, ground-based laser to intercept threats in the air
During trials announced in April this year, the laser shot down unmanned aerial vehicles, mortars, rockets and anti-tank missiles.
Excerpt from an article by Yaakov Lappin, Jewish News Syndicate
Photo Credit: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems/JNS.org
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