Rafael to unveil Sky Sonic hypersonic missile interceptor at Paris Air Show

Rafael says its Sky Sonic Interceptor is a major technological leap in hypersonic missile defence.

Anita Hawser
15 June 2023


Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems says orders for its advanced interceptor against hypersonic missiles is breaking records. Named "Sky Sonic," the defensive response to the growing threat of hypersonic missiles will be officially unveiled for the first time at the Paris Air Show which runs from 19–25 June at Le Bourget.

Russia, India, China and the US are developing hypersonic missiles, which travel at speeds of Mach 5 or more and can change course during flight. Hypersonic weapons systems are a key pillar of the US Department of Defense’s modernisation strategy to ensure dominance on the future battlefield.  

The US DoD plans on fielding “a family of air-, land- and sea-launch, conventionally armed hypersonic strike weapons," for defeating maritime coastal and inland targets.  To defend against hypersonic weapons, it will rely on “a comprehensive layer-defeat strategy,” which combines kinetic and non-kinetic capabilities to deny, degrade and defeat these new weapons. 

There are two main categories of hypersonic weapons: hypersonic glide vehicles and hypersonic cruise missiles. Their speed, unpredictability and manoeuvrability present significant challenges for existing missile defence systems, which may not be able to respond in time.  

Rafael said the Sky Sonic interceptor represents a major technological leap in hypersonic missile defence. Designed with exceptional manoeuvrability and high-speed capabilities, the interceptor neutralises hypersonic missiles, which travel at ten times the speed of sound, with unmatched precision and stealth.

“Project Sky Sonic is an innovative, unique development of its kind for the hypersonic weapon threat,” said Yuval Steinitz, chairman of Rafael, adding that it is following developments and emerging threats in the current security context.

Major General Yoav Har Even, CEO of Rafael said orders for these systems are breaking records and for the first time the company has a backlog of orders worth more than 40 billion new Israeli shekels ($11bn) .

The Sky Sonic Interceptor will be unveiled on June 19th at Rafael’s stand at the show.




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