Rafael has completed an initial evaluation of the requirements for a sixth-generation air-to-air missile that will be carried by the Israeli air force’s Lockheed Martin F-35s.

The step was confirmed by Yosi Druker, vice-president and general manager of Rafael’s air superiority systems division. In the past, the company said only that it was developing the “building blocks” for such a weapon. It also previously announced that its Stunner missile – developed for the David’s Sling rocket interceptor system – would provide the basis for a future air-to-air system.

Druker says Rafael has been looking into the design of a so-called sixth-generation weapon for some years, with one requirement being for the design to be carried within the internal weapons bay of the F-35.