Israel Military Industries (IMI) has revealed a new modular stand-off submunitions dispenser with a range of up to 100km (55nm). The Modular Stand-Off Vehicle (MSOV) may form the basis of a family of unpowered and powered stand-off missiles.

The MSOV airframe builds upon the experience IMI gained with its Tactical Air Launched Decoy - although the new design appears to use a more advanced wing design.

The submunitions-dispenser variant will be capable of carrying a 675kg payload. IMI has yet to release details of the submunitions packages, although imaging-infra- red and millimetre-wave-radar-guided weapons are possibilities. The Israeli company says only that the MSOV will be capable of carrying different types of submunitions. IMI manufactures a variety of advanced submunitions, some of which remain classified.

The MSOV is 3.97m long and has a wingspan of 2.7m. The composite wings unfold after the weapon is released from the aircraft. The weight of the vehicle, including the payload, is 1,050kg.

The weapon uses global-positioning-system navigation, allowing it to follow a pre-programmed flightpath to the target area. The flightpath can be programmed either before take-off or during flight before launch.

After release from the aircraft, the MSOV glides to the target area and is then manoeuvred to achieve the best release angle relative to the target. One IMI source says: "The pre-programming of the system includes selecting the optimal dispensing pattern for the submunitions." The MSOV is designed for release from altitudes of up to 35,000ft (10,700m). According to sources in the advanced-systems division of IMI, windtunnel tests have proved that the MSOV will be capable of gliding to ranges of 100km. Two MSOV stand-off weapons can be carried by a Lockheed Martin F-16.

The gliding submunitions-dispenser is being developed with IMI's own research-and-development funds.

"We are convinced that this type of dispenser will be widely used in the early 2000s, and that the potential market is therefore big," says a senior IMI source. Release tests from Israeli air-force aircraft are scheduled to begin before the end of the year.

IMI declines to discuss whether it is considering developing a powered variant of the MSOV, or fitting the vehicle with a unitary warhead and a terminal seeker.

Source: Flight International