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. 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.
Air Launched Variants
- Popeye (also known as Have Nap)—this is the standard solid-rocket–powered stand off missile, 4.82 m (15 ft 10 in) long and weighing 1,360 kg (3,000 lb) with a 340 kg (750 lb) blast fragmentation or 360 kg (800 lb) I-800 penetrating warhead, inertial and imaging infrared or TV guidance.
- Popeye II or Popeye Lite (also known as Have Lite)—this is a reduced size (shortened to 424 cm/167 in) and weight version (weight is now 1125 kg/2500 lb) of the Popeye to give light aircraft such as the F-16I Sufa a precision standoff strike capability.
- Popeye Turbo ALCM—The Popeye Turbo air-launched cruise missile, which uses a jet engine and liquid fuel, is approx 6.25 m (20.5 ft) long, it is reported to have a range of more than 320 km (200 mi).
- Have Rain—A 2004 report indicated that Rafael was developing a new anti-ship version known as the “Have Rain.” The new missile is believed to have a launch weight of 900 kg, for deployment aboard P-3 Orion aircraft.
- SPICE In 2000, Rafael promoted a "Smart Precise Impact Cost Effective" (SPICE) add-on "smart bomb" guidance kit for Mk 84 bombs, this system was based on the Popeye seekers.