Rafael completes first-ever missile firing from its “Protector” Unmanned Surface Vehicle
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. recently completed the development of an additional mission module for its Protector Unmanned surface Vehicle (USV), in use by a number of naval fleets around the world, including the Israeli Navy.
The development was completed as part of a series of successful tests performed by Rafael, in which a number of missiles were launched from the Protector and hit simulated enemy targets. This was the first-ever missile firing from an operational, remote-controlled USV.
During the test Rafael fired a number of Spike missiles – a family of precise, electro-optical, precise missiles that can be launched from aerial, land and naval platforms.
This new capability allows pin-point attack of land or naval targets, enabling safe vessel operation from , with no risk to the operating force, from a remote command and control room or from aboard other naval platforms.
The Protector has been in use since 2004, allowing its developers and engineers to accumulate vast experience to continue its spiral development.
Rafael has recently supplied a significant number of Protector USV’s to a number of fleets and civilian bodies around the world, in accordance with the growing need for a remotely-operated vessel with modular payload carrying capabilities, based on mission needs.
The recent test brings to an end the operational integration process of Protector’s entire suite of mission components, including a stabilized weapon stations – Mini-Typhoon, a water cannon, non-lethal means, EW systems for protection and escort of naval vessels, MCM, electro-optical long-range detection and tracking systems, as well as Rafael’s Spike missiles, all remotely-operated.
The Protector is adaptable to civilian applications, including access to disaster, contamination and radiation zones, seabed mapping, and many other applications.
“The firing test demonstrates Protector’s side array of capabilities and applications”, said Moshe Elazar, Head of Rafael’s Land and Naval Systems Division. Elazar emphasized the vast international potential for unmanned surface vehicles, noting the need for protection of critical strategic naval assets such as ports and rigs. “These assets are vulnerable to sabotage or terrorism and the damage that can be inflicted can in some cases be catastrophic. Protector’s capabilities are a major force multiplier for navies, for detection, deterrence and finally neutralization of the threat”, Elazar stated.