Israel’s Rafael says it is developing hypersonic missile interceptor

The Israeli state-owned defense contractor behind the Iron Dome and David’s Sling air shields announced on Wednesday the development of a new system to counter hypersonic missiles, a week after Iran said it had produced its first such weapon.

The SkySonic interceptor will “enable us to intercept all kinds of hypersonic threats – hypersonic ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles,” Yuval Steinitz, chairman of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, told Reuters at a media event.

The Pentagon was briefed on the development, Rafael said. It declined to say if or when the Israeli military might deploy SkySonic. Israel’s defense ministry had no immediate comment.

Hypersonic missiles can fly at least five times faster than the speed of sound and on a complex trajectory, making them hard to shoot down.

An animated video rendition of SkySonic issued by Rafael showed an interceptor missile taking off vertically from a launch battery. The missile’s warhead is then shown detaching and flying with its own booster toward an incoming threat.

Rafael said the system would be unveiled at the Paris Air Show next week.

Israel’s arch-enemy Iran on June 6 went public with what it described as its first domestically made ballistic hypersonic missile, Fattah. The missile can reach 15,000 kms/hr (9,321 miles/hour) and evade Israeli defenses like the short-range Iron Dome, Iran’s state TV said.

At the time, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said: “To any such development, we have an even better response.” He did not elaborate.

Related Articles

Back to top button