Firing the SPIKE missile system.
(photo credit: RAFAEL ADVANCED SYSTEMS)
Defense giant Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has been awarded a contract with the IDF to rapidly produce more than a thousand Spike LR2, fifth-generation electro-optical, precision-guided missiles, the company announced on Tuesday.
“This substantial production order... for the IDF will kick-start the Spike LR2 missile production earlier than expected,” read the statement, adding that “the IDF and future customers will be assured technical maturity, low risk and readiness for operation.”
The 5th generation Spike LR2 design is based on lessons learned from modern warfare as well as data from the over 5,000 Spike missiles fired during training and combat.
The IDF is a long-time user of the Spike missiles, and the addition of the Spike LR2 “will enhance both its infantry engagement range and its lethality against a large variety of targets,” the company said.
The Spike LR2 is an advanced multipurpose missile, weighing only 12.7 kg., and can be launched from any Spike launcher. It has a range of 5.5 km. when fired from ground launchers and up to 10 km. when fired from a helicopter.
According to the company, the LR2 incorporates improvements in lethality and immunity which will allow it to meet both present and future threats.
RAFAEL's Spike LR2 Missile (YouTube/Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd)
The missile, which can also be fired from vehicles and ships, has advanced electro-optic seekers and smart target trackers with artificial intelligence features. It’s connectivity with the IDF’s network of sensors and effectors will enhance overall force capabilities.
Designed to be used against targets that have low heat signatures and can appear and disappear within seconds, the missile also includes new third-party network-enabled target allocation enhancement, with an embedded inertial measurement unit (IMU) assembly that allows the missile to be fired according to grid target coordinates, including advanced armor and protection systems, making it one of the only missiles in the world having this capability.
Moshe Elazar, executive vice president and head of Rafael’s Land and Naval Systems Division, said that “the procurement of Spike LR2s by the IDF continues [its] long legacy of Spike Missile employment... and signifies the trust and appreciation the IDF holds for the performance of the Spike family. We are proud to contribute to Israel’s defense through our excellent systems, and are happy to begin the LR2 production with this important customer.”
The IDF’s LR2 procurement also complements the IDF’s fielding of the Integrated Control Launch Unit (ICLU), new digitally networked launchers that provide improved tactical connectivity for third-party target allocation, the company said.
Rafael added that the Spike LR2 also has two advanced warhead configurations for increased lethality. The Tandem HEAT warhead configuration ups the armor penetration capability of the missile by over 30%, and the new multipurpose blast warhead includes gunner-controlled fusing for better control to achieve the desired effect.
The development of the Spike LR2 leverages decades of successful operational use of all variants of the Spike Family.
Rafael has four missiles in the Spike family – Spike NLOS, Spike ER, Spike MR/LR and Spike SR – and has supplied more than 27,000 Spike missiles and systems to over 25 countries, including the Philippines, Lithuania, Australia and India, where they are used by armies on various naval and land system platforms.