Israel Turns Artillery Rocket Into Supersonic ‘Rampage’ Air-Launched Stand-Off Weapon

Israel Turns Artillery Rocket Into Supersonic ‘Rampage’ Air-Launched Stand-Off Weapon

Israel Turns Artillery Rocket Into Supersonic 'Rampage' Air-Launched Stand-Off Weapon

  • Israel Turns Artillery Rocket Into Supersonic ‘Rampage’ Air-Launched Stand-Off Weapon
  • These weapons cost-effectively fill the gap between Short-Range Guided Bombs and Long Range Stand-off missiles.

Israeli Military Industries Systems, or IMI Systems, in cooperation with Israel Aerospace Industries, abbreviated IAI, is close to finishing development of a new air-launched, precision-guided, high-speed weapon called Rampage that can hit targets around 150 km away. The weapon is installed on an IAF F-16I Sufa multi-role combat aircraft.

Rampage is an air-launched derivative of ground-launched Extended Range Artillery guided artillery rocket, or EXTRA. There appear to be only minimal changes to the weapon’s external design for the air-launched role, namely the addition of a reinforced section of the central body with the attachment lugs.

Otherwise, the weapon is relatively unchanged. The ground-launched EXTRA has the same stated maximum range and also uses a GPS-assisted inertial navigation system (INS) guidance package to hit its intended target.

The guidance system is expected to work reliably even if a hostile force is jamming or otherwise disrupting GPS receivers, which is an increasingly realistic possibility on modern battlefields. Of course, this doesn’t mean that these electronic warfare attacks wouldn’t degrade the weapon’s capabilities. INS is far less accurate than GPS guidance and likely impact area only expands at longer ranges.

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Israel Turns Artillery Rocket Into Supersonic ‘Rampage’ Air-Launched Stand-Off Weapon

Initially the goal was for the weapon to have a total weight of approximately 1,100 pounds to fit on any bomb rack that could accept a 1,000-pound class U.S. Mk 83 bomb. The plan then was for the air-launched version of EXTRA to have a warhead weight around 220 pounds.

In addition, unless the air-launched rampage has a smaller warhead or motor to reduce its overall weight, it should definitely have a greater range than the ground-based EXTRA given the benefit of the added momentum of the launching aircraft, as well as the possibility of a launch at high altitude. There is also the distinct possibility that the artillery rocket system can only hit targets up to 150 km away using a special, lightweight warhead in the first place.

But even at its stated maximum range, the weapon fills a niche between precision guided glide-bombs, such as the U.S. Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) (and the Israeli-made SPICE), and longer-range air-launched, land-attack cruise missiles, such as Israel’s Delilah. And its supersonic speed offers significant benefits over these far slower-moving weapons.

This could make it ideal for short-notice strikes on time-sensitive targets, including mobile air defense systems and mobile ballistic missiles, giving them little, if any time to fire, seek cover, or otherwise relocate. Rampage can hit targets out to its maximum range in as little as five minutes. And it would be much cheaper than say, Delilah.

Israel Turns Artillery Rocket Into Supersonic ‘Rampage’ Air-Launched Stand-Off Weapon

At present Rampage is best suited to destroying fixed targets such as command centers, communications nodes, military depots, airfields and any other valuable field targets protected by anti-air systems.
But progressively, an additional laser-guidance system can be employed to add moving target capability to the weapon.

The air-launched version of EXTRA, initially known as MARS, has been in development since at least 2012. It’s not the first time a ground-launched, ballistic weapon has been adapted for aerial use, either. Recently, Russia revealed an air-launched version of its Iskander quasi-ballistic missile, called Kinzhal, which could indicate the start of a trend of converting established guided rocket artillery and similar systems into lower-cost stand-off weapons for aircraft.

There is food for thought for Defence Research Agencies of other wanna be countries.

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