Israeli arms makers unveil new bunker buster and suicide drone in India air show
search

Israeli arms makers unveil new bunker buster and suicide drone in India air show

The ‘Rocks’ air-to-ground missile billed as a cost-effective weapon to destroy protected underground targets; the Mini-Harpy can stay in air for 2 hours before flying into a target

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

An F-16 fighter jet carrying a 'Rocks' air-to-surface 'bunker buster' missile takes off from an Israeli air base in an undated photograph. (Rafael Advanced Defense Systems)
An F-16 fighter jet carrying a 'Rocks' air-to-surface 'bunker buster' missile takes off from an Israeli air base in an undated photograph. (Rafael Advanced Defense Systems)

Israeli defense contractors unveiled two weapons systems during a trade show in India this week: a new “bunker buster” air-to-ground missile and a small “kamikaze drone.”

The government-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems showcased its new air-to-surface standoff missile, dubbed “Rocks,” at the Aero India Air Show in Bangalore, India.

“Equipped with either a penetration or blast fragmentation warhead, the missile can destroy above-ground or well-defended underground targets in heavily surface-to-air-defended areas,” the company said in a statement.

According to Rafael, Rocks uses GPS and an inertial navigation system to navigate in flight and homes in on its target using optical systems and “advanced image processing algorithms, which ensures hitting targets with great precision, overcoming GPS jamming or denial.”

A ‘Rocks’ air-to-surface ‘bunker buster’ missile displayed at the Aero India trade show in Bangalore, India, in February 2019. (Rafael Advanced Defense Systems)

The company said its new long-range missile is both “cutting edge and cost-effective,” and utilizes existing, “combat-proven” technologies.

At the same air show, the Israel Aerospace Industries weapons maker also unveiled its Mini-Harpy loitering missile — what is commonly referred to as a kamikaze or suicide drone.

The Mini-Harpy, like its larger counterpart, flies over an area until a target is spotted. The drone, which carries an eight-kilogram (17.6-pound) warhead, is then directed to fly straight into the enemy object, where it explodes on impact.

The Israel Aerospace Industries new Mini-Harpy kamikaze drone, which was unveiled at the Aero India trade show in Bangalore, India, in February 2019. (Israel Aerospace Industries)

This type of small kamikaze drone has been identified as a possible weapon Israel could use against Syria’s powerful S-300 air defense system, which Israeli officials have said the military would destroy if it were used against Israeli fighter jets.

Its small size makes it easier for field or naval units to launch the Mini-Harpy and it is cheaper than the larger alternatives, the company said in a statement.

“It can be launched from land, marine and helicopter borne platforms, providing complete independence in intelligence collection for an updated situational picture and closing the attack circle at low cost,” IAI said.

The Israel Aerospace Industries new Mini-Harpy kamikaze drone, which was unveiled at the Aero India trade show in Bangalore, India, in February 2019. (Israel Aerospace Industries)

In total, the Mini-Harpy weighs 45 kilograms (100 pounds), can remain in the air for approximately two hours and has an operational range of 100 kilometers (62 miles), according to the firm.

This model is far smaller than the Harpy, which carries a 32-kilogram (70-pound) warhead. The Harop, another suicide drone made by IAI, has a 23-kilogram (51-pound) warhead and a range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

The Mini-Harpy can spot targets using video footage, which it sends back to an operator. Multiple Mini-Harpies can be used in tandem, IAI said.

“The loitering missiles are launched towards the target area. They loiter the sky until the threat is detected. Upon detection, the systems locks in on the threat and attacks it for a quick, lethal closure,” the government-controlled company wrote in a statement.

read more:
comments