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Israel unveils Air Lora long range Air to ground missile as an answer to Iranian Attack.

Following the long-range attack launched by Iran against Israel in April 2023, Israel realized its need for long-range weaponry launched from aerial vectors, which are much more complex to target than ground-based infrastructure. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has thus officially unveiled an airborne version of its LORA (Long Range Artillery), a short-range ballistic missile initially developed for surface launch.
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AIR LORA presented by IAI during ILA 2024 airshow in Berlin, the structure on the missile in an F-16 underwing port showing the possibility of mounting this long range missile on Us platform.   (Picture source: Army recognition)

The new weapon joins a growing arsenal of ballistic missiles and artillery rockets adapted for aerial launch, including the Rampage from Israeli Military Industries (IMI), also based on a long-range artillery munition, while the Rafael Rocks was developed from the Israeli Sparrow range of ballistic missile test targets. The announcement of Air LORA also comes less than two months after a similar-looking missile was apparently used by Israel to attack an Iranian ground-based air defense system.

Known as Air LORA, this weapon, rumored for some time, was presented at the ILA Berlin Air Show held from June 5 to 9, 2024. According to the documentation provided by the manufacturer, Air LORA is described as a "deep-strike air-to-ground missile." Primarily designed to hit reinforced strategic targets, the main features of the weapon include high supersonic speed and inertial/GPS "fire-and-forget" guidance, ensuring it can be used day or night and in all weather conditions. The missile can receive targeting coordinates while still attached to the launch aircraft, meaning it can respond to "pop-up" targets, and the manufacturer claims its guidance system is resistant to hostile jamming.

Air LORA is presented as being simple to integrate with different aircraft. IAI shows Air LORA launched from a Boeing P-8 maritime patrol aircraft (as well as mounted on F-15 and F-16 fighters). This confirms that the missile is presented as an export product, even though it remains possible that it will find its place in the Israeli military, which may already be the case.

According to IAI, the need for a weapon of this class stems from the growing threat posed by ground-based air defense systems, which push combat aircraft further away from the targets they are supposed to destroy. These concerns have guided the Israeli Air Force's doctrine for many years now, but they are a problem that most air forces are grappling with. IAI also claims that another driver behind Air LORA is the requirement for a higher level of precision, reducing the risk of collateral damage while ensuring that the target can be effectively pursued using a minimum number of munitions.

The LORA, which serves as the development base for the AIR LORA, is more precisely a short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), primarily intended for ground launch from mobile launchers. It has also been proposed in a maritime launch form and is said to have a range of 175 miles.

Measuring approximately 17 feet (about 5 meters) in length, LORA has a launch weight of just over 2200 kilograms, with the warhead accounting for about 800 kilograms. Options for high-explosive and submunition warheads are reportedly available.

The Air LORA is presented as having the ability to dive at the last moment onto the target, making its interception particularly difficult by existing anti-air systems. This missile has just completed qualification tests on the F-16 and may represent the future of air-to-ground systems for the IDF and usual customers.

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