RAFAEL is introducing enhanced versions of the Spike family missiles, including a Spike NLOS offering improved seekers and targeting capabilities and adaptation to air, land and naval platforms. The smaller, affordable Spike LR is also extending its range, and adapted to heliborne platforms.
RAFAEL engineers are working on expanding the NLOS versatility, enhancing the existing EO-IR/CCD seeker with semi-active laser (SAL) capability. The enhanced seeker has already demonstrated good performance in flight tests, according to company sources the new capability will be fielded in 2015.
While the laser capability introduces a new mode of operation, for the operator, most of the mission remains unchanged – as the operator can see the laser spot designating the target on the same display; this capability also improves operator orientation – particularly valuable in conditions such as urban environment and close support, as well as improved sensor to shooter capability against targets requiring fast reaction.
Spike NLOS’ lethality has also been improved with a choice of anti-armor, blast-penetration and high-explosive fragmentation warheads, meeting specific applications. Such modularity in payloads and sensors enables RAFAEL to tailor the weapon to specific customer requirements. According to our sources, these new capabilities will enter production and become part of our offering beginning this year.
RAFAEL is also introducing new capabilities with Spike LR, extending the missile’s range by 25 percent, to five kilometers. This improvement was achieved without changes to the missile’s weight, dimensions or interfaces. The weapon uses a two-way fiber-optic datalink to transfer the seeker’s image from the missile to the operator, while carrying target updates back to the weapon’s guidance system. This fiber-optic datalink is especially effective against hidden targets and engaging targets in complex area, where its pinpoint hit capability minimizes collateral damage. Therefore, hit accuracy in five kilometers was maintained at the same accuracy previously achieved in four.
This capability will be particularly important for mobile and new heliborne applications for which integration is currently underway. At a weight of 30 pounds (13.7 kg) Spike LR will be able to offer light helicopters to engage targets with high precision, five kilometers away. In addition, the launcher will be able to carry the missile on all the platforms currently carrying Spike NLOS/ER/LR missiles, offering more versatile configurations.