Israeli defence companies are developing new weapon systems that will be carried by the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters operated by the nation's air force.

Rafael confirms that it is developing smaller versions of its Python-5 short-range and Derby beyond visual-range air-air missiles, to enable the munitions to be carried in the stealth fighter's weapon bays.

Israel Military Industries is also developing a new series of internally carried bombs for the F-35. So far, it has only unveiled the MPR-500, which will offer improved penetration and timed detonation.

Sharing the configuration of the Mk 82 500lb (226kg) general purpose bomb, the MPR-500 is made of specially hardened steel and has a single aft fuze. It also features a redesigned nose section to enable it to penetrate multi-layered targets, says an IMI source.

The combination of precision accuracy with a timed fuze has enabled the company to reduce the amount of explosive charge required in the bomb by 50%, the source adds.

Source: Flight International