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Air-Launched Weapons

Rafael unveils Rocks air-to-surface missile

21 February 2019
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Rafael’s new Rocks stand-off air-to-surface missile on the F-16I testbed during certification trials. Source: Rafael Advanced Defence Systems

Rafael Advanced Defence Systems has unveiled a new, advanced stand-off high-speed air-to-surface missile (ASM) designed to engage high-value stationary and re-locatable targets in heavily GPS-denied environments.

Designated 'Rocks', the new missile is furnished with a single-stage solid rocket motor developed by Rafael, GPS/inertial navigation system (INS) guidance for midcourse navigation, and an electro-optical (EO)/imaging infrared (IR) seeker assembly for terminal homing.

For precision accuracy, the EO/IR assembly exploits the Rafael-developed Automatic Target Acquisition algorithm with scene-matching technology - as used in its Spice stand-off glide munition variants - to overcome GPS jamming, navigation, and target location errors in the threat environment. On approach to the target, Rocks' scene-matching algorithm compares the EO image received in real time via the weapon seeker with mission reference data stored in the weapon's computer memory.

The Rocks ASM can be equipped with two warhead types - penetration or blast explosive - to defeat above-ground or hardened below-surface targets. The weight class of the warhead has not been disclosed.

Rafael has described the development status of the missile as Technical Readiness Level (TRL) 8. "We have completed full-scale development and testing - including airborne and homing - but we have not yet completed the qualification of the missile. This will be the final part of the development process, which will be completed according to our customer requirements," Gideon Weiss, deputy general manager for business development, marketing, and strategy for Rafael's Air & C4ISR division, told Jane's . The identity of the intended launch customer(s), and anticipated qualification date for the Rocks missile, were not disclosed.

Weiss said that the missile has been certified on an Israel Air Force F-16I multirole combat aircraft testbed, including air carriage, launch, and homing trials. Typically, the F-16I can deliver a load out of four Rocks missiles.

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