In recent years, a warfare legend said air-to-air missiles were obsolete because fighter aircraft no longer engaged in dogfights.
The legend officially died recently, at least in its Israeli form.
The country’s leading manufacturer of air-to-air missiles has, for the first time, very clearly said it is developing a new, very advanced weapon.
“We are developing advanced air-air missiles as the threat it has to counter is not over,” says Roni Potasman, Rafael’s executive vice president for research and development.
He added that the belief that the air forces of some Arab nations are now less capable may change with the significant developments in the region.
Watching even the unclassified videos of the Rafael Python-5, which is operational in the Israeli air force and others, you can conclude that it has all the capabilities one can think of.
Rafael is working on a “very advanced, very surprising missile that will surpass any other air-air missile in the world”.
Experts have said many times that the Python-5 is a “super agile” missile.
So far, the Israeli company has only admitted that is is developing “building blocks” for a sixth generation air-to-air missile.
Rafael said that the Stunner missile, developed for the David’s Sling rocket interceptor system, is the basis for any sixth generation air-to-air weapon the company may develop in the future.
The advanced dual sensors to be used in air-to-air missiles developed by Rafael will probably involve the “dolphin head” nose section that was used in the Stunner.
The dolphin head shape allows the two seekers to function simultaneously with no interference even in extreme conditions.
The Stunner, which is 4.60 metres long, uses a multipulse rocket motor and is equipped with a dual seeker. This, say company sources, will ensure high sensitivity in all weathers and immunity from deception and countermeasures.
The technology included in the Stunner and what Rafael knows about missiles that can hit a “needle in the skies” are the best destroyers of warfare legends.