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|作者：环球展望 来源：本站原创 更新时间：2006-3-26 【字体：小 大】|
Shafrir 1 was a first attempt of the Israeli missile industry to develop an original air-to-air missile which will compete with the best of air-to-air missiles the world had to offer at the time. It never stood in the operational test, excluding three mig-21 kills. Also, its design was not satisfactory to the air force’s needs.
It was designed as a small missile which was based on a direct hitting. Its motor and warhead were of modest dimensions, a fact which caused to a decrease in performance. And if that was not enough, its warhead was designed initially without a proximity fuse.
The heads of the defense industries wanted to increase competition between factories, in order to reduce costs and to increase efficiency. In opposite to their plans, IMI encountered some difficulties in the production of several composite parts of the missile. This led to a delay in turning the missile operational. Following that, Rafael took on itself the lead for the project, first as IMI's sub-contractor, and then as a main one.
The Shafrir 2 answered the engineer's expectations. It withstood almost all the designing demands they had faced it with. Operationally speaking, the Shafrir 2 was a tremendous success story, crediting to itself 106 enemy shot-downs. In terms of technology, it did not contain the latest developments available at the time, as the Shafrir 2 was the product the engineers wanted to create when they were designing the Shafrir 1.
In retrospective, the decision to use the Shafrir 1 homing head and its electro-optic proximity fuse was right. New technologies such as cooled homing head and electromagnetic proximity fuse were not available at the time, and had to be developed from scratch. Such an adventure could have ruined the whole project so it was decided that development of a rear-sector interception missile would be adequate. But when the development of the Shafrir 2 started, the American AIM-9D missile, which had a cooled homing head and an electromagnetic proximity fuse, had been already in production and had the ability to be launched at wider sectors. And indeed, prior to the completion of the Shafrir 2, it was obvious that the next generation of air-to-air missiles, the Python 3, was needed to be developed.
Nevertheless, the Shafrir 2 did not fall short of its technologically more advanced American rivals, in terms of operational achievements.
The Surprise of the War Shafrir 2 at the 1973 Yom Kippur War
At the evening of the Yom Kippur War the IAF suffered from quantitative inferiority compared to its enemies air forces. The Egyptian air force had 600 fighter aircrafts, the Syrian air force had 345, and the IAF counted 192 fighter aircrafts. 76 of them were Shahak and Nesher fighters armed with Shafrir 2 air-to-air missiles. The fighters were deployed in 4 squadrons. At the time, the IAF had 4 kinds of air-to-air missiles - AIM-9D, AIM-9G, AIM-7E and the Shafrir 2.
The war started at the 6th of October with no early warning. The IDF who was in a great surprise, ignored its existed doctrine of achieving air superiority as a key role to winning the war, and the air force was giving support to the ground forces, by directing most of its sorties to the field battles in order to prevent a catastrophe of the advancement of enemy forces into the cities of Israel.
A program of the air force to hit a pre-emptive strike on Egypt and Syria was not accepted. No airfields, SAM sites or ground planes were attacked. This led to one of the most intense air-fights in the history of modern air-combats; 277 Egyptian and Syrian aircrafts were shot down. Half of them by air-to-air missiles. 176 Shafrir 2 missiles were launched at enemy aircrafts, killing 89 aircrafts. The Shafrir 2 kill rates were 50.7% of the launches, and 32.1% of total shot downs. the AIM-9D and AIM-9G had less success, achieving 39.8% and 18.9% of total shot downs. The AIM-7E missile had a success rate of 25%, shooting down 3 aircrafts out of 12 missiles. It also had 1.1% of total shot downs.
It was obvious that the Shafrir 2 was the most successful air-to-air missile the IAF had been operating during the Yom Kippur War.