Rafael is coming to Defexpo this year after implementing a major restructuring process, in which the company dissolved its old product-focused organisational structure into into a leaner, customer oriented structure. “The new formation enables Rafael to better align its offering to meet customer requirements, particularly with complex, modern ‘systems of systems” Oron Oriol, the company’s Executive Vice President Marketing told Vayu Aerospace. “It also garners closer focus our activities to best address customer requirements.”
The new formation eliminated the old structure to create three new divisions, along with the establishment of cross-corporate support groups. These three include the Air Operations and Intelligence, Division, Air Superiority Division and Land Systems Divisions. Several cross-organizational groups were also created, providing common engineering, manufacturing, and testing supporting the three divisions activities.
“I am confident that when requirements for longer-range precision attack weapons are laid out, the SPIKE NLOS that we are also displaying here at DEFEXPO will come to the limelight.”
“Missiles have always been the core of RAFAEL’s activity, and at Defexpo we are highlighting a number of the missiles we are currently offering in India” Oriol continued, “We highlight the missiles, Along with other systems that are supporting those capabilities, from sensors and target acquisition systems, intelligence gathering, command, control and communications to cyber warfare systems and homeland defence.”
After over a decade of continuous activity in the country, RAFAEL’s sales in India span over many programs; “India is one of our most important international markets” Oriol said, “It is a strategic market for Rafael.”
Among the leading programs highlighted at DEFEXPO this year are the SPIKE missiles. “We offer our Spike MR anti-tank missile to the Army and the extended range SPIKE ER missile to equip Army helicopters. We are focusing on these two variants as these are the more mature requirements.” Oron explains that RAFAEL also has other variants of the SPIKE, considered one of the most widely used among modern anti-tank missiles – “All variants are battle proven and operational with many armed forces worldwide.” According to Oron, the Indian customer is very thorough in the preparation and sourcing procedures, therefore, these other systems should not be proposed prematurely, “I am confident that when requirements for longer-range precision attack weapons are laid out, the SPIKE NLOS that we are also displaying here at DEFEXPO will come to the limelight.”
The SPIKE NLOS that can be operated from helicopters, vehicles or naval vessels has been operational with a number of international forces, including the Israel Defense Forces. This missile has no comparison worldwide” Oron said, “Similar to the rest of the SPIKE family of EO guided weapons, in its ability to collect intelligence, obtain target updates throughout its flight and provide last-second impact confirmation, but SPIKE NLOS it unique in its ability to strike pinpoint targets at ranges up to 25 km.” According to Oron, the requirement for such weapon has evolved exclusively in RAFAEL, as we had to address operational necessities faced by our customers.
“as air forces cutting back on their combat aircraft fleets refocus on land-based assets to safeguards their airspace”
Oron highlights another RAFAEL forte – its end-to-end integration of sensors and effectors using electro-optical sensing technology. “RAFAEL provides a variety of imaging sensors, capable of collecting intelligence and acquiring targets at extremely high definition. We also possess different precision-guided weapons that can locate and strike targets by their image. The image thus becomes a new ‘common language’ that best interface between the sensors and shooters in real-time.” Oron explains that this new language alleviates the need for external mediation techniques such as geolocation or laser designation, which require translation, and processing are vulnerable to human error or enemy countermeasures. As a result, this ‘electro-optical language’ facilitate rapid attack cycles, enabling the engagement of targets that appear only for few seconds or minutes at most.
Typical systems supporting this electro-optical ‘sensor to shooter’ cycle include the RECCELITE reconnaissance pod and RECCEU system, supporting unmanned aerial systems (UAS), LITENING targeting pod and TOPLITE E/O stabilised payload on the sensor side, and the SPICE stand-off aerial guided weapon, and SPIKE family of guided multi-purpose missiles.
The ‘air superiority division’ established last year reflects a profound shift in missile applications. ”Moving from the air/air focused operation that characterised our past activities at the missile division, the new division addresses the modern air-defense focused market.” Oriol said. “This trend that is going on for quite some time has intensified in recent years, as air forces cutting back on their combat aircraft fleets refocus on land-based assets to safeguards their airspace.”
Rafael was among the first to address this trend with the Spyder air defense system, employing the same missiles developed for fighter aircraft, on ground-based systems. “We have sold the Spyder to India on one air-defense program, and are currently competing in two additional programs – the QRSAM and SRSAM, where various versions of the Spyder are strong contender.” Oriol confirmed.
According to Oriol, part of the answer to new asymmetric threats, dominated by stand-off attack by unguided ballistic and guided weapons, is the capability to establish credible air defense through a multi-layered defense system that would be able to take out all forms of attack – from aircraft launching their guided munitions from stand-off range to salvos of long- and medium range ballistic missiles and rockets that could be targeting those defensive assets. At DEFEXPO RAFAEL is showing part of the solution, comprising the SPYDER, IRON DOME and an air defense integration system called MIC4AD that would combine multiple assets into such multi-layered defense system.