Sea Breaker: A breakthrough development for the Israeli Navy

sea breaker
Image source: Rafael

Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems unveiled its Sea Breaker missile on 30 June and described it as a 5th generation long-range, autonomous, precision-guided missile system that is highly effective against various high-value maritime and land targets. “Sea Breaker was developed to fill an operational gap in maritime dominance and deep land strike systems ‒ all in a single platform,” Rafael’s website states.

A video released by Rafael shows a simulated launching from a ship and a vehicle, demonstrating the missile’s agility. The video shows how the missile can fly at low altitudes, following the terrain or skimming the water, evading enemy detection systems, and hitting high-value targets with maximum force and precision.

The features of the missile

The missile utilizes a wide range of technological innovations such as electro-optics, computer vision, Artificial Intelligence, and decision-making. Addressing the complex challenges of modern warfare, Sea Breaker delivers pinpoint strikes from stand-off ranges of up to 165 nautical miles with a 250 lb (113kg) penetration, blast, and fragmentation warhead against high-value maritime and land targets. As a result, Sea Breaker is highly effective in complex A2/AD arenas engagements. Previous generations of RF-seeker-based missiles are ineffective, even under severe electronic warfare and GNSS denial conditions.

Sea Breaker features an advanced Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) seeker, ideal for stationary or moving targets in all weather conditions. Sea Breaker can engage ships both in coastal and blue waters and also in archipelago environments. It can be launched from various naval platforms ‒ from fast attack boats to corvettes and frigates. It enables selective hits, controlled damage, and reduced collateral damage.

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Sea Breaker Missile Illustration

Rafael said Sea Breaker performs deep-learning and big data-based scene-matching, a feature that is available on the Spice 2000 that was used during the Balakot strike. (The Spice 2000 uses a Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator (DSMAC) technology which automatically matches the target, as it zooms in, with the image that has been pre-fed, besides the GPS coordinates)

Using artificial intelligence, the Sea Breaker performs deep-learning and big data-based scene-matching, enabling automatic target acquisition and automatic target recognition. It also has a datalink support system that allows the operator to make decisions and tactical real-time man-in-the-loop decision-making and tactical updates, mid-flight abort capability, and battle damage assessment.

The system is capable of entire operations in GNSS-denied arenas as well as in all weather conditions. It is also immune to electronic countermeasures, jam-resilient, and can fly close to the water or terrain. Flying at high subsonic speeds, Sea Breaker has a multi-directional, synchronized full sphere attack capability, based on predefined attack plans, according to waypoints, azimuth, impact angle, and aim point selection, ensuring a high probability of mission success, with a 250 lb. penetration, blast. Fragmentation warhead, making a single hit effective enough to neutralize a frigate-sized ship.

Why is Sea Breaker dangerous?

It flies very low both in the sea and on land. In such a situation, enemy radars present on the sea or land cannot recognize the sound of this missile when the missile reaches very close to the enemies, which does not even give them time to react. In such a situation, it becomes almost impossible for the enemy to escape from this missile.

Tactical Advantage

RF-head guided missiles are not very successful at hitting targets close to land. In addition, engaging a high-value target by distinguishing it from other targets is considered another essential capability in today’s operational environment. Thanks to its deep learning and computer vision algorithms and the IIR search coil, the Sea Breaker guided missile can both hit targets close to land and distinguish the high-value target from other targets. State of the art electro-optical seekers with unique scene matching algorithms, navigation guidance, and homing techniques, the Sea Breaker can fulfil operational missions without GPS and with minimum collateral damage.

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Sa’Ar 6 Class Corvette

Conclusion

The Israeli Navy has added a Sea Breaker guided missile to its key capabilities with SAAR 6 corvettes. The ability to engage both land and sea targets at the same time will increase the role and weight of the Israeli Navy in Israeli military strategy. In particular, thanks to the Sea Breaker’s target selection capability, hitting only military targets and preventing civilian casualties will also reduce the reactions to Israel’s military operations. SAAR 6 corvettes equipped with Sea Breaker guided missiles will increase Israel’s power and deterrence in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Check out Naval Library App to find out the specifications of the Sea Breaker missile.

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