Israeli weapons maker Rafael unveils new state-of-the-art anti-ship missile

Autonomous ‘Seabreaker’ uses advanced sensors, artificial intelligence to hit targets from 300 kilometers away, is primarily intended for foreign buyers, contractor says

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Israel’s Rafael defense contractor this week unveiled a powerful new naval missile system known as the Sea Breaker that it says can knock out a full-sized warship from hundreds of kilometers away in one shot.

The fifth-generation missile is principally geared for use against targets at sea or near the shore, but can also navigate over land, according to Rafael. At this stage, the Sea Breaker is primarily being marketed to customers abroad, the weapons manufacturer said.

Rafael announced the creation of this new long-range missile on Wednesday, saying that it combined state-of-the-art capabilities with existing technologies, making it one of the most powerful weapons of its kind.

The Sea Breaker is designed to be fired either from ships at sea or from a land-based launcher on shore. The missile uses a variety of sensors, supported by artificial intelligence, to identify targets autonomously, though human operators are meant to remain in the loop.

The winged missile can essentially function as an incredibly fast drone, flying low at “high subsonic speeds,” over the sea or the land, changing direction as necessary. It can be directed to hit a target from up to 300 kilometers (190 miles) away with an accuracy of a few meters, the company said.

According to Rafael, the missile carries a “250-pound penetration, blast and fragmentation warhead, making a single hit effective enough to neutralize a frigate-sized ship.”

A computer-generated image of a Sea Breaker naval missile that is manufactured by the Rafael defense contractor. (Rafael Advanced Defense Systems)

“All of these capabilities put together enable the missile system to deal with emerging threats and challenges in the next generation battlefield,” the head of Rafael’s Land and Naval Systems Division, Ran Gozali, said in a statement.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is considered one of Israel’s premier military contractors, helping develop some of the country’s leading weapons systems, including the Iron Dome missile defense system and the precision-guided Spike missile.

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