Rafael Advanced Defense Systems 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 (in the first-ever missile firing from this operational, remote-controlled USV) from the PROTECTOR and hit simulated enemy targets.
During the test, Rafael fired a number of SPIKE missiles – a family of precise, electro-optical (EO) missiles that can be launched from aerial, land and naval platforms. See the video on our main screen under Multimedia.
This new capability allows pin-point attack of land or naval targets, enabling safe vessel operation with no risk to the operating force, from a remote command and control (C2) 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 USVs to a number of fleets and civilian (the PROTECTOR is adaptable to civilian applications, including access to disaster, contamination and radiation zones, seabed mapping, and many other applications) 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 firing test demonstrates PROTECTOR’s side array of capabilities and applications,” Moshe Elazar, Head of Rafael's Land and Naval Systems Division, told MT.
Elazar emphasised the vast international potential for USVs, 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 neutralisation of the threat.”