Rafael’s Protector USV Conducts Successful Missile Firing Demo for NATO

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and NATO carried out joint training of the Protector unmanned surface vehicle off the Israeli coast, demonstrating the USV’s capabilities against naval swarm threats

The Protector USV during the exercise (Photo: Rafael)

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems carried out a successful exercise for NATO forces to demonstrate the capabilities of the Protector unmanned surface vessel against naval swarm threats. The demo included a simulated firing of Spike missiles to neutralize the threat. The exercise took place along the shores of Israel.

In the exercise, a NATO ship spotted a large number of hostile vessels advancing towards it quickly in a swarm attack formation. After the ship reported back to headquarters, Rafael’s Protector USV was deployed to identify the threat from a long distance. An order was then given to neutralize one of the threats, and the Protector simulated the firing of a Rafael SPIKE precise, electro-optical missile.

Moshe Elazar, EVP and Head of the Land and Naval Systems Division at Rafael, noted that “the demonstration of the Protector’s capabilities to the NATO force further enhances the need to handle the threats emanating from terror and criminal activity that naval forces are facing around the world, including swarm attacks. The demonstration illustrated some of the capabilities that can be applied by the Protector in a wide range of operational scenarios. These capabilities are a significant force multiplier for the naval forces, from the stage of detection, deterrence and, if necessary, neutralization of the threat, as was seen in the demonstration.”

In March 2017, Rafael announced it had completed a series of successful tests in which a number of SPIKE missiles were launched from the Protector and hit simulated enemy targets. This was the first-ever missile firing from an operational, remote-controlled USV.

This new capability allows pin-point attack of land or naval targets, enabling safe vessel operation from, with no risk to the operating force, from a remote command and control room or from aboard other naval platforms.

The Protector has been in use since 2004, allowing its developers and engineers to accumulate vast experience to continue its spiral development. It is in operational use in the Israeli Navy and a number of additional naval forces and is used for defense, security, enforcement, coastal protection and more.

The test finalized the operational integration process of Protector’s entire suite of mission components to form four mission modules, including force protection and anti-terror, by employing a stabilized weapon station – Mini-Typhoon, a water cannon, non-lethal means, EW systems for protection and escort of naval vessels, Mine Counter-Measures to deal with the spreading threat of mines against sea lines of communication, Toplite electro-optical long-range detection and tracking systems, as well as Rafael’s Spike missiles, all remotely-operated.

The Protector is adaptable to civilian applications, including access to disaster, contamination and radiation zones, seabed mapping, and many other applications.

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