IAI’s SkySniper – Air Launched Missile for Standoff, Precision Strike

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IAI SkySniper is an air-launched, precision attack ballistic missile developed by IAI MLM. Image: IAI

IAI is reviving the concept of using ground based ballistic missiles as air-launched weapons enabling precision strike from standoff range. Dubbed ‘SkySniper’, the weapon is configured as an autonomous, air to ground precision strike missile.

Powered by a rocket motor the SkySniper strikes its target at supersonic speed. The high velocity impact with multi-purpose blast-fragmentation warhead and three-mode fuse enables effective penetration of hard targets. Tailored to destroy a wide range of targets, the missile can also detonate in airburst or impact action modes to maximize effect on area or soft targets.

Designed as an affordable weapon, the SkySniper uses GPS/INS guidance to achieve pinpoint targeting under all weather conditions. Coordinates and trajectory commands can be loaded to each missile on the ground or in the air, by the pilot, prior to launch. Once launched, the missile flies to its assigned target, navigating its way passively on GPS/INS. Trajectory shaping can be employed to gain the range, and required attack angles as well as to evade enemy defenses.

IAI designed the SkySniper for a maximum loadout of four missiles per aircraft, Potential carriers include both western and eastern platforms such as Boeing F-15 and F/A-18, Lockheed Martin F-16, UAC MiG-29, Su-30 and IAI Kfir.

IAI designed the SkySniper for a maximum loadout of four missiles per aircraft. Image: IAI
IAI designed the SkySniper for a maximum loadout of four missiles per aircraft. Image: IAI
[ismember]The missile is likely a derivative of the EXTRA missile IAI developed with IMI in the 2000s. The ground-launched EXTRA rocket is about four meter long (3.97m), has launch weight of 450kg (990 lbs) diameter of 306 mm and reaches a range in excess of 130 km, carrying a 125 kg (275 lbs) warhead. Its published accuracy is ‘better than 10 meters CEP). IMI has also considered using the EXTRA rocket in air launched configuration.[/ismember]