On 14 June Israeli defence company Rafael Advanced Defence Systems announced the development of a breakthrough interceptor called “Sky Sonic,” a defensive measure against the increasing danger posed by hypersonic missiles.
The system is set to be unveiled at the upcoming Paris Air Show, a premier event in the aerospace industry.
Rafael describe Sky Sonic interceptor a “major technological leap in hypersonic missile defence,” crediting its manoeuvrability and speed capabilities for its ability to neutralise hypersonic missiles – that can travel ten times faster than the speed of sound – with unmatched precision and stealth.
In recent years, the danger posed by hypersonic missiles has intensified, prompting the need for preemptive actions to protect national security. This family of weapons includes hypersonic atmospheric cruise missiles, gliders, and cruisers that are capable of travelling at extraordinary speeds, all while maintaining remarkable accuracy and manoeuvrability. Hypersonic missiles possess the unique capability to alter their trajectory during flight, a feature that sets them apart from ballistic missiles.
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One of the primary obstacles to creating a complete defensive strategy against hypersonic threats is the difficulty in detecting and tracking these threats, which requires a well-coordinated sensor system that can precisely pinpoint and track the threat’s movement throughout its entire trajectory.
Accurate trajectory prediction requires an interceptor that can quickly reach the target, reducing uncertainty related to the target’s location. The interceptor, in order to effectively pursue and neutralise the hypersonic threat, must display remarkable manoeuvrability and operate on a non-ballistic trajectory.
Rafael is known for its contributions in developing advanced air defence systems including the “Iron Dome,” “David’s Sling,” and the state-of-the-art “Iron Beam” laser-based system, that are in high-demand by international customers and well regarded for their efficacy.
According to Dr. Yuval Steinitz, the Chairman of Rafael, the company has observed a significant surge in global attention due to its “proven operational capabilities and the geopolitical reality”, which has presented numerous prospects.
Major General Yoav Har Even, CEO of Rafael said: “The orders for these systems are breaking records and for the first time we stand on a backlog of orders of over NIS40bn ($11.2bn).”