'It will surprise the Islamic Jihadis deep in their territory'

The missile is called "AIR LORA," after the company's ground-launched ballistic missile that was unveiled a decade ago.

Israel Aerospace Industry revealed on June 6 that it had succeeded in developing an even smaller ballistic missile, which can be launched from F-16 aircraft and can even carry two at the same time.

Ballistic missiles, fast, with a large warhead and difficult to intercept, were for years weapons systems of the great powers, armed with nuclear warheads and waiting for the third world war, which, fortunately, never broke out.

There have been attempts to develop such missiles to be launched from bombers, and Russia was the first to present such a missile launched from a large and heavy fighter jet, the MiG 31.

The Kinzhal received its first operational use in the war against Ukraine, proving its ability to penetrate underground targets, thanks to its hypersonic speed and the large warhead it carries.

The missile is called "AIR LORA," after the company's ground-launched ballistic missile that was unveiled a decade ago. According to foreign sources, India and Azerbaijan have already purchased the missile. It is presented for the first time at the ILA 2024 exhibition in Berlin.

Beyond the illustrations and the video showing the capabilities of the missile, IAI has released few details about the missile that was classified until now: when it was launched (possibly even before the Kinzhal), what is its maximum speed and range, the size of the warhead, and who has already purchased it.

But based on the performance of the Russian missile, it can be estimated that its speed is supersonic, like any ballistic missile, i.e. more than 5 times the speed of sound, and its range reaches hundreds of kilometers. The LORA launched from land, for example, reaches a range of 400 km, and is still able to hit with an accuracy of 10 meters.

The importance of these capabilities could be learned from the attack attributed to Israel on the Iranian radar system near Isfahan. The remains of what appears to be an Israeli missile were found in Iraq and, according to foreign sources, were launched from Israeli fighter jets flying over Syrian territory, far from Iran and its advanced air defence system.

AIR LORA Capabilities

IAI states that the new missile is capable of hitting a target at supersonic speed within a few minutes of launch and can be used for a rapid response against time-critical targets, i.e., mobile targets that may disappear from the scene, such as surface-to-surface missile launchers.

It also claim it can change targets while flying to the target, which indicates an advanced communication capability even when it flies to the target at hypersonic speed and can be easily adapted to launch from any nearby aircraft without the need for system changes in the aircraft.

In the demonstration video, IAI even presents the missile as being adapted for launching from reconnaissance and intelligence aircraft such as the Boeing 737, which is used as a platform for one of the most common maritime patrol aircraft in the world, the Boeing P8 Poseidon, turning the originally civilian passenger plane into a bomber for everything.

High-quality and well-protected targets such as command centres, air force bases, infrastructure, and densely populated naval vessels are classic targets for such a missile.

The missile navigates to the target with a GPS/INS system that is highly resistant to disruptions, and thanks to its speed and manoeuvrability towards the target and its ability to hit it from a 90-degree angle, it is very difficult to intercept.

IAI did not disclose the price of the missile, but the larger ground-launched LORA, according to foreign publications, costs about one million dollars. The reduced aerial version is supposed to be cheaper and very cheap for a ballistic missile.

Yaakov Glifat, director of the MLM factory, which also produces the Arrow and LORA, said that "the AIR LORA improves the attack and defence capabilities of the countries, with minimal risk to pilots and planes. The missile offers the Air Force the ability to surprise the enemy in the depth of his territory."

(With Agency Inputs)