UK targets Israeli Rampage missiles to replace Storm Shadows sent to Ukraine

Low-cost supersonic weapon with range of 300km could boost RAF's depleted stocks

RAF Typhoon jets (pictured) could be used to fire the Rampage missiles. Getty
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Britain is looking to buy the advanced Israeli-made Rampage supersonic missile, The National can disclose.

A team of Royal Air Force officers and Defence Equipment and Support technicians are understood to have visited Israel to examine the weapon, with a view to mounting it on the Typhoon fighter jet.

Experts believe that the RAF is seeking a rapid and effective missile to help boost its “lethality” and replenish its stocks after sending a number of its Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine.

The Rampage is similarly capable of penetrating Russian-made defence systems.

The rocket-powered Rampage has the ability to fly at 2,000kph with a range of up to 300km, according to defence sources, and is near-impossible to stop.

“It is really interesting that the RAF are looking at this as they can't afford a load more Storm Shadows or can't get them quick enough so it appears they are looking around for cheaper alternatives that essentially can do a very similar job but at a better price point,” said Jeremy Binnie, Middle East editor for Janes, the defence intelligence company.

A Storm Shadow missile costs more than $3 million. While exact Rampage costs are unknown, they are understood to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Israeli air force has used the weapon with great effect on Iran missile sites and other targets in Syria, utilising its range to fire from within its own airspace without the threat of its aircraft being shot down.

A defence source told The National that the British had looked at the missile during a recent trip.

“The RAF contingent recently visited Israel to look at the Rampage and they were impressed,” the source said. “They are looking to mount it on their Typhoon fighters to give them much more firepower.”

RAF officers also examined the missile when it was displayed at the Farnborough Air Show last year.

The source added the weapon was too long to be fitted internally onto the new F-35 Lightning fighter bomber.

Rampage was adapted from a surface-to-surface artillery missile and was developed by Israel Military Industries, alongside Israel Aerospace Industries.

Its first known success was against the Iranian Masyaf missile plant, in the Hama province of Syria in 2019, where it penetrated the Russian-made S-300 missiles defences and destroyed a number of bunkers.

The 570kg missile has a 150kg warhead along with precision guidance system and anti-jamming devices that can place it within 10 metres of a target when fired.

Mounted on F-16 fighters, the same aircraft that Ukraine pilots are currently training on, the Rampage can be fired in salvos of four on missions that can destroy highly protected targets such as airbases, command posts, ammunition dumps and radar installations

With its ability to dive a supersonic speed at a steep angle, impacting on target at a velocity of 550 metres per second, the Rampage is very difficult to shoot down.

It will prove a significant boost for RAF and other Nato countries that fly the Typhoon in combating the Russian threat

“Sending four fighter jets carrying four Rampage missiles each allows us to strike under conditions we've never had before,” said Eli Reiter, head of IMI Systems’ Firepower Division.

It was not only a “a quantum leap in performance” but it had “extraordinary cost-effectiveness”, he added.

Mr Binnie argued that if Rampage is converted onto the Typhoon it would make it more attractive to overseas buyers.

“It is a relatively low cost stand-off weapon that keeps your aircraft out of range of enemy defences giving you the ability to attack key military targets in well-defended terrain,” he said.

It is understood that technicians at BAE Systems defence company could integrate the weapon onto Typhoons and have it combat-ready within a year of purchase.

However, it will not be used in Kyiv’s fight against Russia as Israel does not allow its weapons to be re-exported to Ukraine.

The RAF did not wish to comment on the visit.

Updated: July 01, 2023, 7:02 AM