Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lockheed Martin surface to air defensive shield

New Skyshield system destroys enemy missiles with cloud of tungsten submunitions TEL AVIV — Lockheed Martin is developing its Skyshield air defense system for protection against missiles and rockets. The development is focused on an interceptor that forms a cloud of submunitions to destroy incoming enemy projectiles. In the company's latest newsletter, Lockheed Martin reported the development of a surface-to-air munition to destroy incoming short-range rockets, artillery shells and mortars. The December 2006 Newsline newsletter reported that in static tests the munitions were successful in penetrating and exploding the warhead of Kassam-class, short-range missiles and Katyusha-class rockets of the type that have been aimed at Israel in recent months. "The test rockets were precise copies of the original," the company said.Skyshield, also designed to destroy enemy helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, involves two 35-mm cannons and tracking radar. The radar can detect and track small projectiles.The system can fire 1,000 radar-guided shells per minute, the company said. The warhead is called Advanced Hit Efficiency and Destruction. Each AHEAD shell contains 152 submunitions made of tungsten, capable of penetrating an incoming missile, rocket or mortar shell. Lockheed Martin said the bomblets emitted toward their target form a lethal cloud that either destroys the incoming missile or diverts its path. The company said Skyshield does not produce collateral damage."The small tungsten projectiles lose their speed quite quickly when they pass the target, and in their final speed the components do not harm people," the newsletter said.Lockheed Martin has used an unidentified special material for the AHEAD shell designed to penetrate incoming projectiles. The company has proposed delivery of the first enhanced Skyshield to Israel this year. The system reportedly costs around $15 million.

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