Reorganized Rafael Features New Systems
Israeli defense group Rafael believes it will be more responsive to the markets it serves following the reorganization that took effect at the beginning of this year. The company is now split into three divisions: air superiority, land and naval systems, and air and C4ISR.
“We’re more focused on the customer now, and not just focused on technology,” air and C4ISR systems general manager Yuval Miller told AIN. The reorganization is also intended to take account of the strong growth Rafael has achieved since it was first established as a government-owned company that was part of Israel’s defense ministry.
One of Rafael’s priorities here at the show this week is to promote the new Litening 4 version of its established air targeting and navigation pod. This features an improved sensor package and optimized electronics with a better mean time between failure rate and maintainability. The latest pod also includes new image-processing capability that can be used in a greater variety of air-to-air and air-to-ground modes. “It’s not just a designation pod for LGBs [laser-guided bombs], it’s a very necessary tool for the pilot and can provide better close air support,” said Miller.
Rafael is introducing its new Toplite MHD (multi-sensory, high definition) electro-optical and surveillance, observation and targeting system, which is a derivative of Litening. According to the company, it is very versatile and features new sensors operating in different wavelengths and with datalink capability.
Also on show here in Farnborough is the latest Recce-2 electro-optical tactical reconnaissance pod for real-time imagery collection and data transfer. This is capable of scanning speeds that are around 10 times faster than the original Recce-1 unit, and it also has a new ground control unit.
Rafael has also developed the lighter Recce-U pod for deployment on UAVs that are restricted to payload of less than 100 kg (220 pounds). This can fly on MALE class UAVs, such as the IAI Heron. “It has the same basic design as the [220-kg payload] RecceLite pod and none of the capabilities have been lost,” explained Miller. “The only difference is that it is not airworthy to fly on jets. We took the cooling system out because it’s not needed due to the lower speeds of UAVs and we also took out some of the skin.”
Separately, two new, larger versions of its Spice missiles (1,000 pounds and 2,000 pounds) have been introduced by Rafael, which is also now working on a new 250-pound Spice 250 standoff gliding, precision guided missile.
“If you compare Spice 250 with the bigger versions, the main difference is that aircraft can increase their [weapons] load significantly, carrying four Spice 250s on a smart rack,” said Miller. “It will have standoff capability for over 100 km and can engage a variety of targets. It’s good for scenarios where you want to have a total shock-and-awe effect but can also engage moving and time-critical targets.”
The new weapon is due to begin flight tests later this year.