The Gabriel is a family of short-range, sea-, ground-, and air-launched antiship missiles employed in the Israeli Air Force and Navy. Since its initial deployment in 1972, five variants have seen service with the Israeli Defense Force. It has also been exported to at least ten countries.
Gabriel at a Glance
- Originated from
- Short-range antiship cruise missile
- Possessed by
- Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Finland, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Israel, Singapore, South Africa (Skorpioen), Taiwan (Hsiung Feng 1), Thailand
- Ship-, ground-, air-launched
- 3.42- 4.7 m
- 0.34 – 0.44 m
- Launch weight
- 522 – 960 kg
- Single warhead
- High explosive, semi-armor piercing
- Solid propellant (solid propellant, turbojet for Gabriel Mk 4LR)
- 35 – 400 km
- Operational, Production complete (Mk 2 and Mk 3)
- In service
Gabriel Mk 1
The Gabriel Mk1 was an antiship missile developed in the 1960’s in Israel and was first deployed in 1972. It was first used in combat during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.1
Gabriel Mk 2
In 1976, the longer-range Mk 2 variant entered service. The Mk 2 is 3.42 m in length, 0.34 m in body diameter, and weighs 522 kg. It has a maximum range of 35 km and is equipped with a single 180 kg high explosive (HE) semi-armor piercing warhead. With the most basic guidance system of the Gabriel missiles still in service, the Mk 2 uses a semi-active radar and a solid propellant boost and sustainer motor.2
Israel exported the Mk 2 to Taiwan and South Africa in the late 1970s, where it was produced under the names Hsiung Feng 1 and Skorpioen respectively.3
Production of the Mk 2 has completed, but the missile likely remains in service.
Gabriel Mk 3
In 1979, Israel made further improvements to the Gabriel’s guidance system, which produced the Mk 3 that entered service in 1980.4
The Gabriel Mk 3 is 3.85 m in length, 0.34 m in body diameter, and has a launch weight of 560 kg. The missile has a range of 35 km and is equipped with a single 150 kg HE semi-armor piercing warhead. The Mk 3 uses a solid propellant boost and sustainer motor and is guided by an inertial navigation system with midcourse updates and an active radar seeker.5
An air-launched variant, the Mk 3AS, entered service in 1982. The A-4 Sky Hawk, Kfir, F-4 Phantom, and Sea Scan aircraft can carry this variant.
Production of the Mk 3 has completed, but the missile likely remains in service.
Gabriel Mk 4
In 1985, Israel developed a long-range ground-, ship-, and air-launched variant, known as the Gabriel 4LR, which entered service in 1992.6
The Mk 4LR is 4.7 m in length, 0.44 m in body diameter, and weighs 960 kg. The missile has a maximum range of 200 km and carries a single 240 kg HE semi-armor piercing warhead. Unlike its predecessors, the Mk 4LR uses a Sorek 4 turbojet engine as well as a solid propellant boost motor. It has the same guidance system as the Mk 3, except it has GPS midcourse updating, and its datalink midcourse command must be updated for ranges beyond 50 km.7
Gabriel Mk 5
The Mk 5 is the latest known Gabriel variant, and is also called the ‘Advanced Surface Attack Missile’ (ASAM). It is believed to have entered service in 2007. This missile is reportedly deployed on the Israeli Navy’s Eilat Saar 5 corvettes. It has estimated range of 200-400 km.8
An additional report in 2009 claimed that another variant of the Mk 5 was in development called the Advanced Naval Attack Missile. This version is to be ship-launched and have an active radar seeker and a two-way datalink with a range of 150 km.9 Finland purchased this variant of the Gabriel missile for its Hamina-class and Squadron 2020-class ships as well as a vehicle platform in July 2018.10
According to reports, the missile is optimized with more advanced seeker technology to operate in cluttered or congested littoral environments.11
Variants of the Gabriel missile have been exported to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Finland, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, and Thailand.12
- James O’Halloran, IHS Jane’s Weapons: Strategic 2015-2016, 2015, (United Kingdom: IHS), 159.
- O’Halloran, 159.
- O’Halloran, 159.
- “Israel: Missile,” Nuclear Threat Initiative, November 2012, http://www.nti.org/learn/countries/israel/delivery-systems/.
- “Gabriel III,” Global Security, 2016, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/israel/gabriel.htm.
- O’Halloran, 160.
- Israel Aerospace Industries, “Advanced Naval Attack Missile,” 2016, http://www.iai.co.il/2013/34406-36714-en/BusinessAreas_NavalSystems_AdvancedNavalAttackMissile.aspx.
- Missile Defense Project, “Israel to Provide Finland Gabriel Missile System,” Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 10, 2018, last modified July 10, 2018, https://missilethreat.csis.org/israel-to-provide-finland-gabriel-missile-system/.
- “IAI Unveils Gabriel 5,” Defense Update, 2007, http://defense-update.com/newscast/1007/news/021007_gabriel.htm.