The goal is to defend off-ship electronic warfare, while the “Protector“ encircles the vessel on a 24 hour basis and maintains constant contact with the Combat Direction Center (CDC) on deck.
The “Protector“ will assist in deception and in identifying intercepting missile fire aimed at the vessel. Rafael is negotiating with the navy on supplying it with “Protector“ UMVs.
The “Protector“ unmanned maritime vehicle has been in service with the navy for three years. In the operational version, electro-optical measures have been installed as well as a mini- Typhoon 7.62mm gun, both of which allow for long-range identification and elimination of suspicious targets, without compromising the manned vessel by contact with explosive-laden boats. The “Protector“ is also being used to investigate suspicious fishing boats off the Gaza Strip coast.
Rafael is now interested in developing the “Protector“ for a wider range of tasks: electronic warfare, submarine detection, underwater mine detection (through the use of sonar installed beneath the vessel), and civilian coastal policing. UMV systems can be installed on vessels 7-11 meters in length.
A senior Rafael official told IsraelDefense that “the UMVs are expected to be what the UAVs were twenty years ago. The market is slowly opening, and there are still many obstacles that make it difficult to introduce unmanned vessels into the civilian or military spheres“. According to the same official, “Rafael was one of the pioneers in developing unmanned maritime vessels, already eight years ago. Now we’re on the fifth generation of the ‘Protector’. The vehicle is already in use in several military forces around the world, not only the Israeli Navy“.