IAI Reveals New Air-to-Ground Missile

The SkySniper is a new air-to-ground precision strike missile, aimed to destroy radar stations



According to defense-update website, IAI reveals a new air-to-ground missile against radar targets named SkySniper. The missile is equipped with a rocket motor and can reach high speed. It is designed to penetrate hard targets (probably fortifications of radar stations).

The SkySniper uses GPS/INS guidance to achieve pinpoint targeting under all weather conditions. IAI designed the SkySniper for a maximum loadout of four missiles per aircraft, Potential carriers include both western and eastern platforms such as Boeing F-15 and F/A-18,Lockheed Martin F-16, UAC MiG-29, Su-30 and IAI Kfir.

According to the product brochure on the company website (source), the missile is fired out of range of the enemy's air defense systems, in order not to endanger the pilots. Although the actual range of the missile was not specified, modern anti-aircraft systems such as the S-300 operate in an intercepting range of 150 kilometers. The S-400 is a different case, since it depends on the interceptor itself. The 48N6E3 is effective in a range of 240 km. However, the newer 40N6 interceptor, supposedly reaches a range of 400 km (details are quite under wraps).

Will the SkySniper reach 400 km? Hard to believe. According to an analysis conducted by the Defence.pk website, the weight of the missile must be about 900 kg (the carrying capacity of each of the F-16's four suspenders). According to the analysis, the missile will include a warhead weighing about 400 kg. It will reach a speed of about 3.5 Mach and its range will be up to 250 kilometers. This means that in a distance of 250 km, it will take four minutes for it to reach its target. Again, these are only estimates and not publications of the manufacturer (the official publication has no reference whatsoever to technical data).

In a video published by the company (which, In the meanwhile, was already removed from You Tube), it can be seen clearly that the missile soars after launch and gets in an almost vertical attack angle toward the radar station. Action reminiscent of another IAI product – the Harpy (loitering ammunition against radar stations). Only in this case, it seems that IAI used the operational experience and put it into air-to-ground missile, launched from a fighter jet.

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You do not need 400Kg to damage radar. You can put 300Kg charge, briefly get into 400Kg radius, launch a missile and evade outside.

Yes, I agree. I think, that warhead of 250 kg would be more than sufficient to completely & totally blow the huge radar antennas of the S-300, and even the slightly huger radars of the S-400 out of the earth's surface. Think about IAI's Harpy, which is doing precisely this job with a warhead of only some 35 kg !! And with the 250 kg warhead, the 900 kg IAI's SkySniper should reach the maximum range of 400 km, i.e. be able to knock out the most modern Russian S-400 air defense systems.

Harpy can spread certain materials over the battery or get small magnetic burst over that area. It will damage battery's vision for a while. After that few SkySnipers will destroy the whole battery. Second option is to launch 10-12 ballistic/cruise missiles at the battery. Battery, if survives, will use all their missiles and will need 5-10 minutes to reload. Planes with SkySnipers waiting just outside the are will be able to destroy battery just in time. I still do not understand why SkySnipers pegged as anti-radar weapon. It looks more of general high value target missile. While land based ballistic missiles are really expensive due to large first stage and smaller second stage. This SkySniper could be 5 time less expensive to make than top-line three-stage Jericho missile. And it does not require a silo maintenance. It can also destroy target within S-300 territory much better than slow bombs with wings that Israel have used in Syria in last few years.

Again, I believe that you are right here. While one of the IAI's SkySniper's warheads certainly could be a very specialized, loaded with a very advanced searching electronics anti-radar warhead with a little bit smaller load of high-explosives, to knock out and to destroy S-300 & S-400 batteries - these powerful 3,5 Mach missiles would certainly be used as a general high-value target missiles, then equipped with heavy, powerful high-explosive warheads, and INS, supported by GPS, giving these missiles the C.E.P. better than 10 meters.

You are right, IAI's SkySniper being itself a kind of highly supersonic ballistic missile - the last stage of it - four of them hanging under the wings of a fighter-bomber -- is much less expensive, than a "traditional" ground-based ballistic missile. By the way, it reminds me a little bit of the slightly larger and heavier (1600 kg) IAI's LORA one-stage ballistic missile, strongly supersonic, with maximum range of 300 km, C.E.P. better than 10 meters, and warhead of 450 kg - 600 kg. Regarding IAI's the middle-range two-stage Jericho-2 (1700 km maximum range), and the long-range heavy three-stage Jericho-3 (7500 km maximum range), I do not believe that any expensive silo maintenance is needed there -- I believe that the IDF/IAF uses mobile TELs only, both for the Jericho-2, and for the Jericho-3. However, IAI's Jericho-2 & Jericho-3 are very much needed as well - having much higher speed than any other Israeli missiles - they can penetrate ANY anti-missile defenses (like the latests and most modern versions of S-300, and the S-400), and with 100% security and precision deliver their load, may it be a conventional 1000 kg high-explosive or a 1000 kg bunker-buster warhead, or a nuclear warhead, like a 250 KT plutonium, or a 2 MT Hydrogen.......