Popeye (missile)


The "Popeye" standoff missile
Type Air-to-surface missile
Place of origin Israel
Service history
In service 1985–present
Used by See Users
Production history
Designer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems
Manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems
Lockheed Martin
Turkish Aerospace Industries
Weight 1,360 kg (3,000 lb)
Length 4.82 m (15 ft 10 in)
Diameter 533 mm (21 in)
Warhead 340 kg (750 lb) blast fragmentation or 360 kg (800 lb) I-800 penetrating

Engine Single-stage Solid-fuel rocket
Wingspan 198 cm (78 in)
78 km (48 miles)
Inertial plus IIR or TV
Fixed-wing aircraft, Dolphin class submarine (Popeye Turbo SLCM)

Popeye is the name of a family of air-to-surface missiles developed and in use by Israel, of which several types have been developed for Israeli and export users. A long-range submarine-launched cruise missile variant of the Popeye Turbo has been speculated as being employed in Israel's submarine-based nuclear forces.[1] The United States operates the Popeye under a different designation according to US naming conventions as the AGM-142 Have Nap.


The Popeye is designed for precision attack against large targets from stand off ranges. The standard Popeye and smaller Popeye-Lite are powered by a single-stage solid rocket. Rafael offered a Popeye Turbo air launched variant featuring a jet engine and folding wings for a UK competition specifying a cruise missile with range of at least 320 km (200 miles) in 1994; publicly exposing a lowest possible maximum range for that variant.[2] An inertial guidance system pilots the missile towards the target; for terminal homing the pilot can control the missile directly via an INS and data link, aiming via either a television or imaging infrared seeker depending on the missile model. It is not necessary for the launching aircraft to direct the missile—control can be passed to another platform while the firing aircraft escapes the area. There are two choices of warhead for the export versions, a 340 kg (750 lb) blast/fragmentation or 360 kg (800 lb) penetrator.

The alleged Israeli submarine-launched cruise missile variant is reported to be jet powered and nuclear armed with a greatly increased range, though according to the Federation of American Scientists "open literature provides little information on this system" but in a May 2000 test launch was tracked for 1500 km.[1]

Air Launched Variants

Popeye Turbo Submarine Launched Cruise Missile

Popeye Turbo SLCM—A reportedly stretched version of the Popeye Turbo developed for use as a submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) was widely reported in a US Navy observed 2002 test in the Indian Ocean to have hit a target at 1500 km. It can allegedly carry a 200 kt nuclear warhead. It is believed that the stretched Popeye Turbo is the primary strategic second strike nuclear deterrent weapon that can be fired from the 650 mm secondary torpedo tubes of the Israeli Dolphin-class submarines.[1] It is believed that the SLCM version of the Popeye was developed by Israel after the US Clinton administration refused an Israeli request in 2000 to purchase Tomahawk long range SLCM's because of international MTCR proliferation rules.[7] While the standard Popeye is 533 mm the Dolphin class submarines have four 650 mm torpedo tubes in addition to the six standard 533 mm tubes allowing for the possibility that a SLCM Popeye derivative may be a larger diameter.[8]


The Popeye is compatible with a variety of aircraft from tactical fighters to heavy bombers.[9]

Since their inception, the missiles have gone through a variety of improvement programs designed to increase reliability and reduce costs. These efforts have included changes in the materials and manufacturing processes of the wings, fins and rocket motor, new components in the inertial guidance unit, an upgraded processor, and an improved imaging infrared seeker.

Israel is suspected of using the airframe and avionics to produce a long-range submarine-launched cruise missile with a liquid-fueled jet engine similar to the Popeye Turbo rather than a rocket.[10]

In US use, the Popeye designated as the AGM-142 Have Nap is intended primarily to equip the B-52H, allowing it to attack fixed targets of high value at sufficient range to provide protection from defences. The missile represented the first precision guided munition to be carried by the B-52H.

The London Sunday Times newspaper reported that on 5 July 2013, Israeli Dolphin submarines fired long-range cruise missiles at stores of Russian-made P-800 Oniks anti-ship missiles kept at the Syrian port of Latakia, contradicting an earlier CNN report it had been an air strike.[11] Israel also deploys sub-Harpoon missiles capable of land attack on its Dolphin class boats.[12]

In the afternoon of 7 December 2014, two formations composed by two Israeli Air Force F-15I's each, fired Popeye missiles to two separate target sites in Syria. Syrian air defense Buk-M2 missile batteries fired two missiles at the incoming attack planes, both were jammed and two Pechora 2M missiles were hastily launched at the four incoming Popeye missiles, shooting one down.[13]

In the early hours of 30 November 2016, Israeli planes launched air-to-surface Popeye missiles from Lebanese airspace at targets at Sabboura, north-east of Damascus.[14]


First developed for use by the Israeli Air Force, it has been in service since 1985.

The United States Air Force first bought a batch of 154 missiles in 1989 followed by a second batch of 54 missiles in 1996.

The Royal Australian Air Force has also purchased a number of Popeye missiles in the late 1990s for use by the RAAF's F-111 bombers. The F-111 was taken out of Australian service in 2010.[15]

Currently, the Turkish Air Force's F-4 2020 Terminator aircraft (which were extensively upgraded by IAI) and the TuAF F-16 CCIP are armed with a Turkish License production version of the Popeye.

Israel and Turkey co-production

In May 1997, Israel and Turkey signed an agreement valued in excess of US$500 million for the establishment of a joint-venture between Israel's Rafael and Turkey's Turkish Aerospace Industries for the co-production of Popeye I and Popeye II missiles in Turkey.[9]


Map with Popeye operators in blue
Popeye Standoff Missile

There have been reports that Israel has exported Popeye and its variants to various countries:[16][17]


See also


  1. 1 2 3 Israel missile. FAS
  2. nti.org
  3. 1 2 http://missilethreat.com/cruise/id.25/cruise_detail.asp
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-05. Retrieved 2012-08-25. Archived copy at the Portuguese Web Archive (October 14, 2009).
  5. USAF Counterproliferation Center: Emerging Biocruise Threat
  6. John Pike. "AGM-142 Raptor / Have Nap / Popeye - Smart Weapons". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  7. http://www.nti.org/db/submarines/israel/. Retrieved August 6, 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. "SSK Dolphin Class Submarine - Naval Technology". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  9. 1 2 "AGM-142 Raptor / Have Nap / Popeye - Smart Weapons". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  10. John Pike. "Popeye Turbo". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  11. Ben Hartman (14 July 2013). "Report: Israeli submarine strike hit Syrian arms depot". The Jerusalem Post. Reuters. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  12. John Pike. "AGM-84 Harpoon/SLAM - Smart Weapons". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  13. War Is Boring. "Four Israeli F-15s Dodged Syrian Missile Fire to Attack Urgent Targets — War Is Boring". Medium. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  14. News, BBC. "Syria conflict:Israeli jets strike outside Damascus". BBC. BBC. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  15. Dodd, Mark (3 December 2010). "RAAF puts F-111 out to pasture". The Australian. Archived from the original on December 3, 2010.
  16. "Israel". NTI. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  17. "Popeye-2". Missile threat. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to AGM-142 missiles.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/1/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.