US defence contractor Raytheon has got the go-ahead from Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to carry on progressing the Stunner interceptor design.
The Stunner will be integrated into the Israeli armed forces’ wider David’s Sling Weapon System and it represents a collaboration between the two firms.
The Stunner development programme was initiated in 2009 and this year should see it test-launched for the first time. Described by Raytheon – in a 9 January 2012 press release – as ‘an advanced, multi-mission, multi-platform interceptor’, it’s been conceived as a weapon capable of overcoming a range of threats – cruise missiles, large calibre rockets and SRBMs (Short-Range Ballistic Missiles) among them.
Raytheon Stunner Interceptor
"The Stunner interceptor redefines the performance/cost value equation for terminal missile defense. Stunner will provide all weather, hit-to-kill performance at a tactical missile price”, Raytheon Missile Systems’ Advanced Security and Directed Energy Systems’ Vice President, Mike Booen, explained in the news release.
He added: “The Stunner program is an excellent example of how Raytheon partners globally. The interceptor will be deployed initially in Israel and will eventually provide a missile defense solution for other allied nations worldwide.”
Stunner Flight Testing
The funding now supplied to Raytheon by Rafael amounts to over $30 million. It will be used to manufacture guidance electronics components and other sub-system hardware, carry out initial Stunner flight testing and put the design into LRIP (Low-Rate Initial Production).
Raytheon will work on the Stunner programme at its Tucson plant, located in Arizona.
The David’s Sling Weapons System (DSWS) will be fitted with a total of 16 Stunners at any one time and, itself, will form part of a triple-layered Israeli defence network, placed in between the Iron Dome Defense System and the Arrow-2 missile.
Currently, the Israeli armed forces use the Raytheon Hawk missile for defence purposes but this is soon set to be retired, after a career lasting some four decades.
Image copyright Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd – Courtesy Wikimedia Commons