It’s an unlikely pairing at first glance: Israel Aerospace Industries and Singapore Technology Engineering, one in Asia, the other in the Middle East. Dig deeper, however, and the idea of pairing ST’s superb insensitive munition technology with IAI’s expertise in algorithms and missiles starts to make sense.
Now the companies are tied up in a joint venture called Proteus Advanced Systems, which has designed the Blue Spear, a subsonic air breathing, sea-skimming missile able to be fired either from land or from a ship, with a range of 290 kilometers (180 miles). The missile can be launched using a standard launcher that can be fitted either to a ship or to a truck.
ST Engineering’s land systems division is responsible for the design, development and production of major subsystems like the booster motor and insensitive munition warhead, which is rated at 150 kilograms (330 pounds).
The joint venture made its first sale to Estonia last October, just one year after starting up, Ron Tryfus, its managing director, told Breaking Defense on Thursday. He added that the joint venture is already generating “tens of millions” of dollars in revenue, with eyes on more customers to come.
How big is the potential market for this product? “If you only addressed the naval segment, there are thousands of missiles in the market that are mainly from older generations, right?” Tryfus said. “If you address the land component you add additional potential.”
The radio frequency seeker, combined with the algorithms, “gives us pinpoint accuracy with our ability to overcome challenges along the way,” Tryfus said. He said it can distinguish and avoid hitting civilian vessels, and its sea-skimming capability takes it from launch to impact, lessening the chance it can be stopped. “It gives you unique capabilities in today’s market,” he said.
Tryfus claimed that Proteus is in discussions with other governments but would not disclose them. Generally, however, he said they’re talking with governments in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. And IAI hopes to pursue a wider array of product opportunities with ST Engineering, he said, without going into specifics.
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