FireFly: New variant in Rafael’s Spike family of precision weapons

3-kg. device designed for use by dismounted infantry soldiers in close urban combat zones

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June 5, 2018 19:54
2 minute read.
FireFly: New variant in Rafael’s Spike family of precision weapons

THE FIREFLY weighs only 3 kg. and can be deployed within seconds. (photo credit: RAFAEL ADVANCED SYSTEMS)

 
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Defense giant Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. has unveiled a new variant in its Spike family of precision engagement weapons systems designed for light maneuvering ground forces.

The weapon, known as FireFly, was designed for dismounted soldiers fighting in urban areas where precision is critical, but the enemy is behind cover and the soldier’s situational awareness is limited.

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“Firefly will essentially eliminate the value of cover and with it, the necessity of long-drawn-out firefights. It will also make obsolete the old infantry tactic of firing and maneuvering to eliminate an enemy hiding behind cover,” read a statement by Rafael obtained by The Jerusalem Post.

Weighing only 3 kilograms and able to be deployed within seconds, “The impact of FireFly on the infantry is revolutionary, fundamentally changing small infantry tactics,” the statement said of the portable, agile system.

According to Rafael, the weapon system kit includes “three miniature loitering munitions and a control unit which is based on a rugged tablet with a military standard bidirectional data link. FireFly, which can be operated day or night, has a low visual and acoustic signature as well as an abort/wave-off capability and full, safe returnability to the operator up to attack command.”

Able to operate in winds of up to 23 mph, FireFly’s munitions are powered by twin electric motors that can loiter for a maximum of 15 minutes “at a maximum altitude of 500 meters in urban terrain and 1500 meters in open areas,” reported Jane’s Defence Weekly.

“The weapons system features a miniature electro-optical tactical loitering munition which features a dual seeker, target tracker, homing algorithms, computer vision, Safe & Arm fusing mechanisms, and HMI [human-machine-interface],” Rafael said.



According to Rafael, these features served as a basis for the development of FireFly and the tailoring of the weapon system to its unique mission profile of urban combat.

Rafael has three missiles in the Spike family: Spike NLOS, Spike ER, Spike MR/LR and Spike SR. The company has supplied more than 27,000 Spike missiles and systems to some 26 countries, including to the Philippines, Lithuania, Australia and India, where they are used by armies on various naval and land platforms.

On Friday, media in India reported that Delhi is once again considering placing an order for Rafael’s Spike missiles as a “stop-gap” measure before India’s Defense Research and Development Organization can produce an indigenous anti-tank missile for the Indian Army.
India, which is trying to boost its anti-tank capability against arch-rival Pakistan, canceled a $500 million defense deal to purchase 8,000 Spike missiles and more than 300 launchers from Rafael in January.

In late May, Australia selected Rafael’s Spike L2R anti-tank guided missile to be fitted on its Rheinmetall Boxer tanks in a deal that could total millions of dollars.

The Spike LR II is an advanced multipurpose missile that weighs only 12.7 kg. and can be launched from any Spike launcher. It has a range of 5.5 km. when fired from a ground launcher and up to 10 km. from a helicopter.

Designed for use against modern targets with a low signature and time-sensitive characteristics, the missile includes networked-enabled, third-party target allocation enhancement with an embedded inertial measurement unit assembly that allows the missiles to be fired to grid target coordinates including advanced armor and protection systems, making it one of the only missiles in the world with this capability.

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