Lockheed Martin and RAFAEL have signed a cooperation agreement to jointly develop, manufacture, market and support RAFAEL’s Smart, Precise Impact and Cost-Effective (SPICE) missile guidance kits to Lockheed Martin’s platforms. RAFAEL already subcontracts about 80 percent of SPICE subassemblies to US manufacturers in eight states. The agreement will enable Israel to buy SPICE kits from the USA, using US military support funds. The agreement follows a market assessment evaluation done by the two partners in the past year.
“Access to GPS is becoming increasingly limited in contested environments,” said Mr. Yuval Miller, executive vice president, and general manager of Rafael’s Air & C4ISR Division. “SPICE provides a solution to this challenge. Finalizing this exclusive agreement sets the scene for our two companies to provide unmatched mid-range guided air-to-surface weapon systems to enhance mission flexibility and success.
SPICE kits are compatible with Lockheed Martin F-16, and, following full integration, will also equip Israel’s Air and Space Forces F-35A. Once concluded, the SPICE will also be available to other F-35 operators. SPICE has also been integrated with the Saab Gripen E, and has already been selected to equip the new Brazilian Gripen NG fighters. RAFAEL also develops the SPICE 250 unitary guided munitions. The bigger SPICEs are designed as guidance kits added to standard bombs. The current agreement does not mention the SPICE 250.
SPICE is a family of stand-off, autonomous, air-to-surface weapon systems, capable of destroying targets with pinpoint accuracy and at high attack volumes in a GPS-denied environment. Combat-proven and in service with the Israeli Air Force and several international customers, SPICE employs a state-of-the-art electro-optical seeker with unique scene-matching algorithms, navigation guidance and homing techniques to achieve operational missions in adverse weather without GPS. The MOU covers the SPICE 1000 (453 kilogram / 1,000 pound weight class) and SPICE 2000 (907 kilogram / 2,000 pound weight class) precision-guided missile kit variants. The SPICE extends the aircraft strike range to 100 km, thus enabling attack from standoff range.
The cooperation agreement follows the partnership RAFAEL and Lockheed Martin established for the international marketing of The POPEYE EO guided missile back in the 1990s. Known as HAVE NAP (AGM-142) POPEYE was fielded by B-52 of the US Strategic Air Command, as well as F-4, and F-111 of the Australian, South Korean, Turkish and Indian Air Forces.
“SPICE is a leading air-to-surface weapon system offering U.S. and international air forces operating Lockheed Martin’s platforms, as well as strategic bomber aircraft, an important complement to their existing operational capabilities,” Miller added. “SPICE’s unique features greatly enhance the U.S.’ ability to operate in contested environments.”
“SPICE offers the U.S. Department of Defense and many allies a capability that no other weapon currently in inventory provides,” said John Varley, vice president of Close Combat Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “By applying our expertise in aircraft integration, mission planning, and tailkit design, along with our experience in affordable, streamlined production, we will adapt SPICE to meet U.S. standards so bomber and fighter aircraft can benefit from the added mission flexibility that SPICE offers.” Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor providing the AGM-158 family of Joint Attack Air to Surface Missile (JASSM) cruise missiles, and the Paveway family of laser-homing weapon guidance kits, widely used by airforces worldwide. SPICE adds an alternative guidance technique, strike autonomy, and independence of GPS, extending the air forces’ operational flexibility in planning and performing strike missions with modern combat aircraft.