Rafael Developing ‘Sky Sonic’ Hypersonic Missile Interceptor, To Showcase it at Paris Air Show

By Arie Egozi


Tel Aviv: Israeli company Rafael revealed on June 14 that it is developing the first of its kind systems that will intercept Hypersonic missile – the “Sky Sonic” interceptor.

The Sky Sonic interceptor represents a major technological leap in hypersonic missile defence. Designed with exceptional manoeuvrability and high-speed capabilities, it effectively neutralizes hypersonic missiles, which travel at ten times the speed of sound, with unmatched precision and stealth.

Rafael’s booth at the Paris Air Show will showcase the interceptor, highlighting the company’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of air defense technology.

Over the past years, the threat posed by hypersonic missiles has escalated, necessitating proactive measures to safeguard national security. Rafael, known for its pioneering contributions in the field of defence systems such as the renowned “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, said: “Rafael has identified a marked increase and arousing interest in the international arena with proven operational capabilities and a geopolitical reality that has created many opportunities. We are following the developments and emerging threats in the current security context and are developing the most advanced defence systems. Project Sky Sonic is an innovative, unique development of its kind for the hypersonic weapon threat.”

Major General Yoav Har Even, CEO of Rafael commented, “We are coming to the air show with Rafael’s vast and impressive portfolio that includes systems that are at the forefront of technology.  We at Rafael believe that even the seemingly impossible can be done.  We have proven this in the past and will continue to prove it in the future.  The orders for these systems are breaking records and for the first time we stand on a backlog of orders of over 40 billion NIS and alongside the activity as a successful global business company, Rafael continues to be a significant pillar in the security of the State of Israel.”

Brigadier General Pini Yungman, Executive Vice President and Head of the Air Defence Division at Rafael stated: “Rafael has achieved a reputation as a leading global manufacturer of air defence systems. From ground-breaking and operationally proven systems like the Iron Dome in its various configurations, to the David’s Sling and the SPYDER, we continue to look ahead and develop the next generations of systems to defend against the threats of tomorrow.”

Hypersonic missiles encompass a new family of threats, including hypersonic atmospheric cruise missiles, gliders, and cruisers that travel at incredible speeds while maintaining exceptional accuracy and manoeuvrability. Unlike ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles have the ability to change their course mid-flight. Consequently, a successful defence against hypersonic threats requires a multifaceted approach that involves not only countering their speed but also effectively tracking, detecting, and intercepting their unpredictable flight paths.

Developing a comprehensive defensive response to hypersonic threats presents numerous complex challenges, including detection and tracking difficulties that necessitate a synchronised sensor system capable of accurately identifying and locating the threat throughout its trajectory. Furthermore, accurate trajectory prediction demands an interceptor that can swiftly reach the target, minimizing uncertainty associated with target location. Lastly, the interceptor must exhibit exceptional manoeuvrability and operate on a non-ballistic trajectory to effectively pursue and neutralise the hypersonic threat.

Rafael revealed that the new interceptor will use the national early warning systems serving the other systems of the Israeli multi-tiered system against rockets and ballistic missiles. Rafael also confirmed that the Sky Sonic will intercept either by kinetic kill or by a proximity fuse that will activate the special warhead.

The US missile defence agency was briefed on the new systems and the defence sources said that it is a major breakthrough.