Israeli Rafael has just announced its hypersonic "Sky Sonic" missile

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has unveiled its new hypersonic, multi-stage interceptor missile.
Christopher McFadden
Rafael Sky Sonic


Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has announced that it is developing a new hypersonic missile interceptor called "Sky Sonic." The new missile will be a multi-stage interceptor that will integrate a "hit-to-kill" system but has not undergone any testing.

The company released a statement describing its new missile as an innovative defensive measure against the increasing threat of hypersonic missiles. They intend to showcase the weapon design at the Paris Air Show, focusing on the European market. The system will be unique but follows the same design principles as Rafael's other air defense systems and missile interceptors. It has an open architecture that provides maximum flexibility per the company's statement. Rafael has already presented the project to the U.S., and their feedback was "positive," according to Rafael.

"Sky Sonic" will intercept other hypersonic missiles

“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,” explained Dr. Yuval Steinitz, Chairman of Rafael. “Project Sky Sonic is an innovative, unique development of its kind for the hypersonic weapon threat,” he added.

A “successful defense against hypersonic threats requires a multifaceted approach that involves not only countering their speed but also effectively tracking, detecting, and intercepting their unpredictable flight paths,” Rafael’s statement said.

During a presentation, Rafael officials shared information about the hypersonic threat and showcased a video of the "Sky Sonic." They emphasized that "hypersonic" threats go beyond high speed (ballistic missiles travel at Mach 5 or higher) and include missiles that can glide or maneuver. This poses a challenge for intercepting low-flying cruise missiles that can change direction or fly through valleys.

“Developing a comprehensive defensive response to hypersonic threats presents numerous complex challenges, including detection and tracking difficulties that necessitate a synchronized sensor system capable of accurately identifying and locating the threat throughout its trajectory,” the company said.

To combat a hypersonic threat effectively, the interceptor must possess both swift speed and exceptional maneuverability while operating on a non-ballistic trajectory. The company has also not disclosed the likely range of the missile. During the briefing, the executives stated that they had developed an innovative technology for the missile but refrained from providing any specific details about it.

The missile will be made available for domestic and international markets

The company is considering both the local threat and potential exports. Israel has recently reported a record-breaking $12.5 billion worth of defense exports, and Rafael is among the country's three largest defense companies. Additionally, it serves as the primary research and development center for Israel's defense sector.