Air-to-air missiles are still an operational need – a big one

The lull in Israeli air-to-air missile development can be interpreted in two ways – that this weapon is losing its importance in today’s operational conditions in the Middle East, or that the opposite is true. I choose the second option.

Only recently Israeli defence company Rafael admitted officially that it is developing an advanced air-to-air missile.

Roni Potasman, Rafael’s executive vice president for research and development, told Flightglobal that air forces in Arab countries have lost much of their potential in recent years, but that that may change, adding: “Therefore we continue to develop advanced air-to-air missiles.”

The Python-5 – operational with the Israeli air force and other air forces – is considered one of the most advanced fifth-generation air-to-air missiles.

Sources say that based on past experience the company is working on a “very advanced, very surprising missile that will surpass any other air-to-air missile in the world”.

Experts have said on many occasions that the Python-5 is a “super agile” air-to-air missile, however, these general descriptions come as a substitute to the actual performance details, which are classified.

So far the Israeli company has only admitted that is is developing “Building Blocks” for a sixth-generation air-to-air missile.

The building blocks of some missiles Rafael has developed or is developing may seem to belong to the surface-to-air category, but when you look closely this is not exactly correct.

One very good example is the “Stunner” missile developed for the “David’s Sling” rocket interceptor system. Rafael admits that this missile is the basis for any sixth-generation air-to-air missile the Israeli company may develop in the future.

Rafael has developed missiles that are considered the top of their category. The division that develops missiles works with new technologies – some that are without any doubt breakthroughs in the field.

If the old principle applies here the Israeli company will unveil a new air-to-air missile only after it has been operational with the Israeli air force.

This has been the way in the past. When “foreign sources” reported about a “super agile” air-to-air missile dubbed Python-5, this missile had already downed enemy fighters.

So, the current lull is misleading – we can expect something radically different from everything we have known so far.

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One Response to Air-to-air missiles are still an operational need – a big one

  1. a total Noob 24 July, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    I seldom comment, but I browsed a few of the remarks here Air-to-air missiles are still
    an operational need – a big one | Ariel View. I do have a couple of
    questions for you if you do not mind. Is it just me or
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