“Building blocks” in anticipation of a pressing need

The strategy has changed for Israeli companies that are expected to develop the “tools” for the next war. Not big, heavily funded programmes that are aimed at developing one system – rather, an overall effort to develop “building blocks” that will be used for more than one application.

Rafael has for the first time admitted that it is developing “building blocks” for a sixth-generation air-to-air missile.

David Shtemer, head of Rafael’s missile division, said that the Stunner missile, developed for the David’s Sling rocket interceptor system, was the basis for any sixth-generation air-air missile that the Israeli company might develop in the future.

“We have offered a new-generation air-to-air missile. But without a launch customer, we are not able to fully develop it. The Stunner was based on the ideas we have for such advanced air-to-air missiles,” he said.

As reported recently by Flightglobal, the advanced dual sensors to be used in future Rafael air-to-air missiles will probably involve the “dolphin head” nose section, which was used in the Stunner missile.

The “dolphin head” shape allows the two seekers to function simultaneously with no interference, even in “extreme conditions”.

The Stunner uses a multi-pulse rocket motor, and is equipped with a dual seeker. This, according to company sources, will ensure high sensitivity under all weather conditions and immunity to deception and countermeasures.

So the reality out there dictates the strategy, and there are signs that other companies will follow suit. There is actually no alternative. When the budget of the Israeli defence force (IDF) is stretched beyond its limits, dedicated development programmes for its purposes are not achievable. So we will see more defence and aerospace companies developing “building blocks”, hoping that one day – sooner, rather than later – someone will need a “house”.


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