Photo Credit: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems
Sky Sonic anti-hypersonic missile defense system produced by Rafael

Israeli defense tech company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., announced Wednesday that it has developed an advanced hypersonic missile interceptor, named “Sky Sonic.”


The announcement came after Iran said on June 6 that it had produced its own “Fattah” hypersonic missile, able to travel at 15,000 kilometers per hour (9,321 mph) and capable of reaching the Jewish State.

Tehran also claimed the “Fattah” can evade Israeli anti-missile defense systems. In response, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant commented, “To any such development, we have an even better response.”

Rafael told Reuters the Pentagon has been briefed on the new system.

Sky Sonic will be officially unveiled next week at the Paris Air Show, one of the world’s largest aerospace exhibitions. The interceptor is designed to neutralize hypersonic missiles, which travel at up to ten times the speed of sound.

Rafael has produced multiple innovative defense systems, including the acclaimed “Iron Dome,” “David’s Sling,” and the cutting-edge “Iron Beam” laser-based system.

Backlog of Orders
The current geopolitical reality “has created many opportunities,” said company chairman Dr. Yuval Steinitz, a former Israeli government minister.

“We are following the developments and emerging threats in the current security context,” he said.

Rafael CEO Major General Yoav Har Even commented that the orders for the company’s defense systems are piling up. “For the first time we stand on a backlog of orders of over NIS40 billion,” he noted.

Hypersonic Missile Threat Escalating
Hypersonic missiles encompass a new family of threats, including hypersonic atmospheric cruise missiles, gliders, and cruisers that travel at incredible speeds while maintaining exceptional accuracy and maneuverability.

Over the past years, the threat posed by hypersonic missiles has escalated.
Russia was the first, in 2018, to announce the development of the Kinzhal, a nuclear-capable hypersonic air-launched ballistic missile.

Unlike standard ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles can change their course mid-flight.

Sky Sonic System is First to Counter Hypersonic Threat
Defense against such hypersonic threats requires a multifaceted approach that involves not only countering their speed but also effectively tracking, detecting, and intercepting their unpredictable flight paths.

To detect and track such a threat, an interceptor system must have a synchronized sensor system capable of accurately identifying and locating the threat throughout its trajectory, with accurate trajectory prediction.

Rafael says the Sky Sonic system, which operates on a non-ballistic trajectory to pursue and neutralize the threat, has all that, while also minimizing the uncertainty that comes with hypersonic missile target location.

It’s the first interceptor to be developed specifically to counter a hypersonic threat.

Brookings Institute: ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’ over Kinzhal
Russia was the first country to announce in 2018 that its scientists had developed and tested a nuclear-capable, air-launched hypersonic ballistic missile, called the “Kh47M2 Kinzhal.” Moscow claims the missile has a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) and travels at Mach 10 speed.

According to the Brookings Institute, however, the Russian Kinzhal is not able to overcome all existing air defense systems, as claimed by Moscow. “Don’t believe the hypersonic hype,” the think tank advised.

“On May 4, 2023, Ukraine used a US-supplied Patriot battery to down a Russian Kinzhal missile … 12 days afterward, Ukraine shot down six Kinzhals” in a Russian attack on Kyiv,” the think tank noted.

The United States, China, North Korea, India, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Iran have all joined Russia in developing hypersonic missiles. Those developed by the US and China travel at Mach 10.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.