The Royal Air Force’s Typhoon fighters could be armed with Israeli ‘Rampage’ supersonic missiles that the U.K. is eyeing to replenish its stock of Storm Shadow missiles it sent to battle-scarred Ukraine.
A team of Royal Air Force officers and Defence Equipment and Support technicians visited Israel to examine the weapon, The National reports. RAF officers also examined the missile when it was showcased at the Farnborough Air Show last year.
“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,” Jeremy Binnie, Middle East editor for Janes, was quoted as saying by the report.
Binnie added that if Rampage is converted onto the Typhoon it would make it more attractive to overseas buyers.
A Storm Shadow missile costs more than $3 million, while the Rampage reportedly comes with a price tag of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Designed by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Rampage is capable of penetrating Russian defense systems. It has been developed for use in missions aimed at destroying high-value, well-protected targets, such as radar installations, communications centers, weapons storage facilities and airfields.
The rocket-powered Rampage has the ability to fly at 2,000kph with a range of up to 300km. The 570kg missile has a 150kg warhead along with precision guidance system and anti-jamming devices that can place it within 10m of a target when fired. It can dive a supersonic speed at a steep angle, impacting on target at a velocity of 550 metres per second.
The Israeli air force has used the weapon to hit Iranian missile sites and other targets in Syria. Its first known success was against the Iranian Masyaf missile plant, in the Hama province of Syria in 2019, where it penetrated the Russian S-300 missile systems and destroyed a number of bunkers.
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.”
The source added the Rampage is however, too long to be fitted internally onto the RAF’s U.S.-built F-35 jet.