‘Groundbreaking Response’ To Hypersonic Threats, Israel Announces Anti-Hypersonic ‘Sky Sonic’ Interceptor Missile

Days after Iran unveiled its hypersonic missile ‘Fattah,’ which it claims can reach Israel in mere 400 seconds, Israeli defense manufacturer has come up with a hypersonic missile interceptor known as ‘Sky Sonic’ to defeat the Iranian threat.

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Rafael Advanced Defense Systems announced on June 14 that it is developing a new interceptor missile called Sky Sonic, targeted exclusively at the hypersonic threat in response to the “geopolitical reality” of hypersonic weapons.

The corporation called the missile a “groundbreaking defensive response to the growing threat of hypersonic missiles.” The company intends to display the weapon concept at the Paris Air Show next week, which has given the impression that it is directly targeting the European market.

Although it is a unique system, Rafael claims it is designed with an open architecture to provide the greatest amount of adaptability, just like its previous air defense systems and missile interceptors. The proposal was submitted to the US by Rafael, and according to the firm, there has been excellent reception.

“Rafael has identified a marked increase and arousing interest in the international arena with proven operational capabilities and a geopolitical reality that has created many opportunities. We are following the developments and emerging threats in the current security context and are developing the most advanced defense systems,” said Dr. Yuval Steinitz, chairman of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

Steinitz told Reuters at a media event, “The SkySonic interceptor will “enable us to intercept all kinds of hypersonic threats – hypersonic ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles.”

In an animated video by Rafael depicting Sky Sonic, an interceptor missile was seen launching vertically from a launch battery. The missile’s warhead is then shown to separate and take off with its rocket toward the direction of an approaching threat.

rafael skysonic
An artist’s rendition of Rafael’s Sky Sonic concept-Rafael

The missile is still being developed, and no live tests have been conducted. According to the company’s briefing, the multi-stage interceptor, developed for several years in secrecy, uses a hit-to-kill mechanism that Rafael has employed in prior interceptors.

Various nations have been developing hypersonic missiles that travel at five or more times the speed of sound, follow an unpredictable trajectory, and are very difficult to shoot down. While China and Russia already have operational hypersonic weapons, the US is still in the process of developing one.

The timing of the announcement of the Sky Sonic hypersonic interceptor is significant as Iran recently disclosed the development of the Fattah hypersonic missile that threatens Israel.

Iran’s Hypersonic Adventurism Targets Israel

Earlier this month, Iran displayed Fattah, their first claimed hypersonic missile, amid escalating hostilities with Israel and the United States, two of its main foes.

The ‘Fattah’ hypersonic ballistic missile was unveiled before Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and senior commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

According to Iran’s official television, the recently announced hypersonic missile “can go past even the most sophisticated anti-ballistic missile defense systems of the United States and the Zionist regime, such as Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.”

According to official media, the missile has a range of 1,400 kilometers (870 miles), is highly maneuverable, and has a top speed of Mach 15 (5,145 meters or 16,880 feet per second).

In a more interesting development on June 7, following Iran’s unveiling of its purported domestically produced hypersonic missile, a billboard showcasing the Fattah hypersonic missile emerged on the streets of Tehran.

However, it wasn’t an ordinary billboard praising the country’s technological and military achievements. This billboard, carrying a menacing message in Persian and Hebrew, attempted to intimidate Israel and read: “400 seconds to Israel.”

‘400 seconds to Tel Aviv:’ Iran boasts about hypersonic missile on street banners

Even at the unveiling ceremony on June 6, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, emphasized that the Fattah missile can reach Tel Aviv in just “400 seconds.”

As previously analyzed by EurAsian Times, “Taking into account the geographical distance of approximately 1000 kilometers separating Iran’s Kermanshah Province, which shares a border with Iraq, and Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city, the assertion made by Iran of a 400-second timeframe to strike the Israeli metropolis implies a missile speed of just over Mach 7.”

In reaction to Iranian claims of creating a new hypersonic missile, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant refuted the accusations and stated that Israel will always have countermeasures to adequately deal with such danger. At this moment, the unveiling of the Sky Sonic looks to corroborate that assertion.