Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) has presented its anti-ship missile Sea Serpent at the international naval exhibition DSEI-2021 in London. The development assumes significance since the British Royal Navy is likely to be left without any guided naval weapons after 2023. The Israeli missiles may play a pivotal role for the Royal navy.
IAI developed the Sea Serpent in collaboration with France’s Thales. It was tailored to meet the requirements of the British defense program SSGW (Surface to Surface Guided Weapon) for the replacement of weapons with guided missiles on British frigates type 23.
IAI designers have not revealed the detailed characteristics of the Sea Serpent and have provided only general characteristics of the anti-ship missile. Along with its range of 290 kilometres they said, the Sea Serpent will be able to “switch” to other targets with the help of commands from its operators or onboard sensors of the rocket itself.
It would appear that the Sea Serpent anti-ship missile is an improved version of the Sea breaker – a new Israeli anti-ship missile, which also features the “switch” function and is part of the armament of the Sa`ar 6 project of the Israeli Navy.
The switch function is important since it allows the operator to switch to a higher priority target with the help of onboard “artificial intelligence”.
Since Israel and the United Kingdom do not have any open agreements on the development of anti-ship missiles, it would appear that IAI designers identified a promising customer, researched its needs and created a promising weapon system that can meet the challenges facing the Royal Navy.
According to sources, the British Ministry of Defense plans on spending at least £100 million on a program to build future anti-ship missiles/weapons against ships.
The Israeli Sea Serpent anti-ship missile is targeting that exact need.