Israel Aerospace Industries announced a new tactical hybrid electro-optically guided missile.
Called Point Blank, the missile is hand-launched and can take off and land vertically, giving it aspects of a missile and UAS system. IAI says it has received a multiyear, multimillion-dollar contract from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Irregular Warfare Technical Support Directorate.
“Point Blank joins Israel Aerospace Industries’ family of missiles, to provide ground-based tactical forces with more precise capabilities to undertake offensive operations especially against short-lived targets,” said Guy Bar Lev, IAI’s Executive Vice President of Systems, Missiles and Space Group, in a statement.
The missile is man-packable and can be deployed quickly in the field. In contrast to a man-packable loitering munition, this can return to the operator. IAI says that the system answers the battlefield requirement to provide tactical units ranging in size from small tactical teams to battalion level, with an independent and organic capability to increase their lethality.
The missile is hand launched and operated by a single soldier. It has a configuration with four wings and propulsion on each wing, with some similarity to how an X-wing from “Star Wars” appears. The system is around a meter, or three feet, long. It can fly up to an altitude of 1,500 feet with a maximum speed of 178 mph, the company says. It weighs 15 lbs and can hover and search for a target.
“Thanks to IAI’s advanced manufacturing technologies, the missile can carry electro-optical systems to validate and collect surveillance information in real time, and it is also being developed to be equipped with a warhead to destroy the target,” IAI said in a statement.
The version of Point Blank destined for the IWTSD is called “Roc-X” which IAI says meets specific Department of Defense requirements. “IAI will provide the first prototypes and training to DoD for Operational Testing & Evaluation in FY 23,” the company said.
Bar Lev praised IWTSDF for its support and cooperation and said the contract confirms “the importance of tactical missiles to the modern army. IAI continues to develop and improve a wide range of offensive systems which provide precision operational solutions, and stands firmly to support our US customers.”
A video of the system shows an operator launching it vertically and the system then flies through the air, over some fields, and slams into a target. In this case the target was a van and the missile explodes on impact after flying through a side window.
The tactical missile joins a number of new systems that have come from Israel in the last years. This includes Rafael’s Spike NLOS 6thGeneration missile that was unveiled last year, as well as loitering munition maker UVision’s announcement last year that it would open a new facility in Virginia.
IWTSD has worked with other Israeli companies in the past, including Smart Shooter, which announced that its Smash Iwoo system was recently developed with IWTSD support. It has also worked with Israel’s Xtend on tactical UAS systems.
Seth J. Frantzman is the Israel correspondent for Defense News. He has covered conflict in the Mideast since 2010 for different publications. He has experience covering the international coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and he is a co-founder and executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis.