Rafael is proceeding with the adaptation of the Spice 1000 Electro-Optically, Stand-Off guided weapon as part of its roadmap to carry this family of weapons into the future. “The Israel Air Force will be able to operate the F-35s with Spice 1000 soon after these fighter jets arrive in Israel later in the decade” a source in RAFAEL told Defense-Update. The aircraft will be able to carry the weapon in either internal or external configuration.
RAFAEL is expanding the SPICE family that began with the combat-proven SPICE 2000, with the introduction of SPICE 1000 and expansion of the platform it is designed to operate with. The next phase is the SPICE 250 – a smaller, lighter and smarter weapon that, according to company officials, will introduce a paramount change in air warfare. The new weapon is currently in development and is expected to enter flight-testing soon.
“The Spice offers air forces to engage pixel-size targets from standoff ranges, with a weapon designed for high immunity to interference and countermeasures.” Rafael VP Marketing Oron Oriol told Defense-Update, “This performance has been demonstrated in combat for quite a while. With the Spice 250 we are downsizing these capabilities further, offering a smaller, lighter and more affordable weapon that also reduces collateral damage and increases mission effectiveness.”
With the new Spice 250 Rafael delivers a weapon that quadruples the strike capability of conventional strike fighters such as the F-16, enabling a single aircraft to deliver 16 highly lethal warheads, striking with high precision from ranges over 100km, a capability currently enabled by eight aircraft or more.
To increase weapon load the Spice is delivered with a smart quad rack carrying four weapons. An F-16 carries four such racks, thus hauling a loadout of up to 16 weapons. An F-15I would be able to carry 28. “Such weapon loadouts that were previously available only on strategic bombers, are now available for tactical strike fighters” Oriol noted.
The missile rack provides all the weapon’s interfaces, including dedicated communications link. This link provides the transfer of mid-course navigation corrections to the weapon, as well as target updates and selective targeting. The weapon is also delivering pre-strike snapshots for Battle Damage Assessment (BDA).
The Spice 250 will be fitted with day/night sensors and laser seeker, backed by GPS/INS. These seekers, along with the integration of the new weapon datalink, deliver mobile target engagement capability over land and sea, and improved operations under adverse weather conditions. “This versatile weapon is designed to engage almost all types of targets in the modern battlefield” Oriol added. He noted that while the weapon’s 250 lbs warhead weighs half the mass of 500 lbs class weapons its enhanced effect exceeds that of the 500 lbs weapon, particularly in target penetration capability.