The "Popeye" standoff missile
TypeAir-to-surface missile
Place of originIsrael
Service history
In service1985–present
Used bySee Operators
Production history
DesignerRafael Advanced Defense Systems
  • Rafael Advanced Defense Systems
Mass1,360 kg (3,000 lb)
Length4.82 m (15 ft 10 in)
Diameter533 mm (21.0 in)
Wingspan198 cm (78 in)
Warhead340 kg (750 lb) blast fragmentation or 360 kg (790 lb) I-800 penetrating

EngineSingle-stage Solid-fuel rocket
78 km (48 mi)
Inertial plus IIR or TV
Fixed-wing aircraft, Dolphin class submarine (Popeye Turbo SLCM)

The Popeye (Hebrew: פופאי) is 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 operated 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 mi) in 1994; publicly exposing a lowest possible maximum range for that variant.[2][page needed] 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 (790 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 1,500 km (930 mi).[1]

Air launched variants

Popeye Turbo Submarine Launched Cruise Missile

Main articles: submarine-launched cruise missile, Nuclear triad, and Second strike

The Popeye Turbo SLCM is a reportedly stretched version of the Popeye Turbo developed for use as a submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), which was widely reported – in a US Navy-observed 2002 test in the Indian Ocean – to have hit a target 1,500 km (930 mi) away. It is reasonable to assume that the weapon's range has been extended to the point where it can launch against Tehran and even more Iranian cities from a relatively safe location.[10] It can allegedly carry a 200 kiloton nuclear warhead.[10] 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 (26 in) 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 because of international MTCR proliferation rules.[11] While the standard Popeye is 533 mm (21.0 in) the Dolphin class submarines have four 650 mm (26 in) torpedo tubes in addition to the six standard 533 mm (21.0 in) tubes allowing for the possibility that a SLCM Popeye derivative may be a larger diameter.[12]


The Popeye is compatible with a variety of aircraft from tactical fighters to heavy bombers.[13]

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 thought to be 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.[14]

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.[15] Israel also deploys sub-Harpoon missiles capable of land attack on its Dolphin class submarines.[16]

In the afternoon of 7 December 2014, two formations composed by two Israeli Air Force F-15Is each, fired Popeye missiles against 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.[17][unreliable source?]

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.[18]


A Turkish Air Force F-4E Phantom II aircraft armed with Popeye missiles takes off from Third Air Force Base Konya, Turkey, during Exercise Anatolian Eagle.

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.[19]

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.[13]


Map with Popeye operators in blue
Popeye Standoff Missile

There have been reports that Israel has exported Popeye and its variants to various countries:[20][21]


See also


  1. ^ a b c Israeli missile. FAS
  2. ^ NTI.
  3. ^ a b c "Cruise". Missile threat. Archived from the original on 2009-10-14. Retrieved 2012-08-25 – via Portuguese Web Archive.
  4. ^ "Emerging Biocruise Threat". AF. USAF Counterproliferation Center.
  5. ^ "Popeye". Missile Threat. CSIS. Retrieved 2020-03-19.
  6. ^ "India successfully tests new 250 km strike range air-launched ballistic missile". India Today. 2024-04-23. Retrieved 2024-04-24.
  7. ^ "IAF successfully tests air-launched ballistic missile in Andamans, significantly boosts stand-off capabilities". The Economic Times. 2024-04-23. ISSN 0013-0389. Retrieved 2024-04-24.
  8. ^ "India successfully tests Crystal Maze-2 missile capable of striking targets up to 250 kilometres away". WION. 2024-04-23. Retrieved 2024-04-24.
  9. ^ Pike, John. "AGM-142 Raptor / Have Nap / Popeye - Smart Weapons". Global security. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  10. ^ a b Mizokami, Kyle (6 December 2017). "Israel Has a Submarine That Could Destroy Entire Nations (Armed with Nuclear Weapons)". National interest.
  11. ^ "Submarine Proliferation - Israel Current Capabilities". Nuclear Threat Initiative. Archived from the original on July 4, 2007. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  12. ^ "SSK Dolphin Class Submarine". Naval Technology. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  13. ^ a b "AGM-142 Raptor / Have Nap / Popeye - Smart Weapons". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  14. ^ John Pike. "Popeye Turbo". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  15. ^ Ben Hartman (14 July 2013). "Report: Israeli submarine strike hit Syrian arms depot". The Jerusalem Post. Reuters. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  16. ^ John Pike. "AGM-84 Harpoon/SLAM - Smart Weapons". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  17. ^ War Is Boring (12 December 2014). "Four Israeli F-15s Dodged Syrian Missile Fire to Attack Urgent Targets — War Is Boring". Medium. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  18. ^ "Syria conflict:Israeli jets strike outside Damascus". BBC News. 30 November 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  19. ^ Dodd, Mark (3 December 2010). "RAAF puts F-111 out to pasture". The Australian. Archived from the original on December 3, 2010.
  20. ^ "Israel". NTI. Archived from the original on 9 February 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  21. ^ "Popeye-2". Missile threat. Archived from the original on 13 August 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2012.