LORA missile ascends from the launch ship during a test performed by IAI last week. Photo: IAI

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has completed last week a dual operational firing trial with LORA (Long-Range Artillery Weapon System), a precise ballistic surface-surface strike missile (SSM). Performed as part of IAI’s work plan in testing production series missiles, the test demonstrated the capabilities of the advanced system to customers.

The complex trial included two scenarios to test and demonstrate LORA’s advanced capabilities. The first scenario involved a short-range launch to 90 km and the second to a long range of 400 km. Under both scenarios, the missile was launched to its trajectory, navigated its course to the target, and hit it with utmost precision. Both the weapon system and the missile successfully met all of the trial’s objectives.

Developed by IAI’s Missiles & Space Group MALAM division, LORA is a sea-to-ground and ground-to-ground long-range ballistic missile system providing ballistic assault capabilities for multiple ranges with a precision level of 10 meters CEP. The missile can be launched from land or sea, at targets designated by their location. The missile uses a jam-resistant GPS-based navigation system aided by an inertial navigation system, delivering hit accuracy less than 10 meters. The missile carries a blast-fragmentation warhead of more than 200 kg of weight.

LORA uses jap-rsistant GPS and INS backed navigation system, capable of scoring a hit within less than 10 meters from the intended target. This picture shows the missile’s direct hit at the target, fired 400 km away. Photo: IAI

The missiles being tested also tested certain system electronics, and components improvements that also contribute to the system’s accuracy. Held in the open sea, the trial included the launch of two long-range LORA missiles to a pre-defined hit point at sea.

The missile system being tested was an operational ground version system, comprised of a four-canister launcher unit and command trailer, only two were used on this test, both fired the missiles from a position in the open sea to comply with the safety requirements of trials of this type. Under COVID19 conditions, the trial was executed with a portable trial field and a capsule team, which managed the trial remotely.

Boaz Levy, IAI’s EVP and General Manager of the Systems, Missiles and Space Group, said: “The complex trial, performed under COVID-19 limitations, demonstrated the advanced capabilities of both IAI and LORA, our strategic missile system. The trial was executed according to a fully functional design, which tested the system’s maneuvering, strike, and precision, as well as technological developments and enhancements introduced by our engineers. Performing a trial with this level of complexity during these days is a testament to IAI’s unwavering commitment to our clients across the globe. The impressive results of the trial prove the system’s maturity and state-of-the-art capabilities.” Levy added, “I would like to thank Israel’s Navy, Air force, and Israeli Ministry of Defense for the collaboration and assistance in this trial.”

According to the Missile Defense Project, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) the LORA system was developed in the early 2000s, the LORA missile was reportedly test-fired in November 2003, March 2004, and in 2006 and 2017. LORA missiles were publically displayed in Azerbaijan in 2018, where it is operated under the Azeri Missile Troops. According to Boaz Levi, the tested missiles were taken from production lines of operational missiles for IAI customers and also were part of system demonstration for new customers.

A standard LORA missile launcher containing two canisters was used on this test. Launch control was performed remotely and from a nearby shelter trailer. Photo: IAI