Israel has developed its own surface-to-surface cruise missile after Washington twice refused to sell the Jewish state its Tomahawk land-attack weapon, an Israel source told WND.
The source was confirming a report to appear in the military journal Jane’s Defense Weekly next week that Israel modified its Delilah air-to-surface missile to reach targets 200 miles away when launched from the ground.
The journal describes the revised Delilah missile as being highly sophisticated and attributes an additional boost engine as crucial in making the adaptation possible.
The missile, which Israel hopes will prove a deterrent to missiles being developed by Iran, can hover over a target area before attacking with a choice of several warheads, and uses a variety of infrared and electro-optic systems to pinpoint enemies up to 16 kilometers away. It can also be used as an unmanned reconnaissance vehicle.
Originally developed as an aerial decoy, the Delilah evolved into a strike weapon used since the early ’90s by Israel’s F-16 and upgraded F-4E attack aircrafts.
The journal notes in addition to converting the Delilah, Israel is also exploring the possibility of converting its anti-ship naval launch missiles into land-attack missiles, each with a range of up to 300 kilometers. It also quotes unconfirmed reports suggesting Israel Aircraft Industries is developing a longer-range cruise missile that can be deployed by Israel’s submarines.
Israel is well-known for its advanced weapons industry. Security sources told WND after Washington sold Israel its first batch of F-16s, Israeli companies surprised their American counterparts by returning a model with a series of impressive proprietary upgrades, including more advanced infrared capabilities.
In addition, Israel’s El Al Airlines recently became the first commercial airline company to install an anti-missile system on its aircrafts. The system, called Flight Guard, developed by Israel Aircraft Industries, responds automatically to an approaching heat-seeking missile by firing flares that divert the missile away from the airplane.
Flight Guard has been used by Israeli military aircraft for a decade, and several U.S. airlines have expressed interest in purchasing the system.