Sky Sonic: Rafael’s New Hypersonic Missile Interceptor
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By José Carlos Palma *

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

The Sky Sonic interceptor represents a significant advancement in defense against hypersonic missiles, 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 discretion. Rafael will showcase the interceptor at the Paris Air Show to demonstrate its commitment to pushing the boundaries of air defense technology.

“The growing threat posed by hypersonic missiles has led to the need for proactive measures to protect national security. Rafael, known for its pioneering defense systems such as the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and the cutting-edge laser-based Iron Beam, takes pride in being at the forefront of developing an effective solution to counter hypersonic attack threats,” said Dr. Yuval Steinitz, President of Rafael. “Rafael has recognized the increasing international interest and resulting opportunities from proven operational capabilities and the geopolitical landscape. We closely monitor emerging developments and threats in the current security context and strive to develop the most advanced defense systems. The Sky Sonic Project represents an innovative and unique response to the threat of hypersonic weapons.”

Major General Yoav Har Even, CEO of Rafael, emphasized the company’s belief in overcoming seemingly impossible challenges. Rafael’s systems have received record orders, with a backlog of orders exceeding 11 billion dollars. As a successful global company, Rafael remains a significant pillar in Israel’s security.

Hypersonic missiles represent a new family of threats, including hypersonic atmospheric cruise missiles, gliders, and boost-glide vehicles that maintain exceptional maneuverability and accuracy while traveling at incredible speeds. Unlike ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles have the ability to change their course during flight.

Successfully defending against hypersonic threats requires a multifaceted approach, involving countering their speed and effectively tracking, detecting, and intercepting their unpredictable flight trajectories.

The development of a comprehensive defensive response to hypersonic threats presents complex challenges, including the need for synchronized sensor systems to accurately identify and locate threats along their trajectory. Precise trajectory prediction requires an interceptor capable of rapidly 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 has revealed that the new interceptor will utilize national early warning systems, which complement other Israeli systems for multi-tiered rocket and ballistic missile defense. The Sky Sonic interceptor will engage hypersonic missiles through kinetic kill or by activating its special warhead using a proximity fuse.

The US Missile Defense Agency has been informed about the new systems and has recognized their significance as a major breakthrough.

* Expert in international relations, such as foreign policy, international trade, domestic security, international security, developing nations, domestic security, intelligence,  political consultant, and military analysis.

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