Defense giant Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. has unveiled the 6th generation SPIKE NLOS electro-optical, precision-guided missiles at Eurosatory in Paris, the company announced on Thursday.
The enhanced capabilities of the missile are new salvo controls, system handover, target image acquisition, and extended ranges.
Rafael has three missiles in the SPIKE family, SPIKE NLOS (non-line of sight), SPIKE ER (extended range), SPIKE MR/LR (medium/long-range), and SPIKE SR (short range).
They provide pinpoint precision at extended ranges, including against non-line of sight targets with the NLOS variant that can be launched from the air, land or naval platforms. Operated in both offensive and defensive scenarios, it provides real-time tactical intelligence and damage assessments, allowing it to be adjusted to targets and abort missions midflight.
According to Rafael, the sixth generation of the SPIKE NLOS has several new enhanced capabilities, including technology that allow troops to close the sensor-to-shooter loop quicker and more efficiently neutralize attacks from standoff ranges.
The 6th generation SPIKE NLOS now has an extended range of up to 50 km when launched from a helicopter and up to 32km when fired from land or naval platforms. It can also overcome anti-access and area-denial targets without compromising its accuracy, efficiency, or lethality.
A single operator and launcher can fire and control up to four missiles simultaneously, allowing for the element of surprise against enemy forces.
Control over the sixth generation missile can be transferred between battlefield platforms mid-flight, allowing for uninterrupted operational pace and seamless collaboration between systems.
For example, if a helicopter launches the missile but flies out of the area, a ground vehicle in the same attack zone vicinity can take control of it and navigate the missile toward the target.
“Together with NLOS’ beyond-line-of-sight launch and passive capabilities, these extended ranges increase the already very high platform survivability,” the company said.
Rafael’s latest image matching capabilities have also been integrated into the missile to enable swift aerial image transfers.
In previous generations of the missile, sensor-shooter closure was done through the transfer of target coordinates, now, the focus is on the target itself. For example, if there are several enemy tanks identified, the Target Image Acquisition capability allows the NLOS to pick out the commander’s tank or the most important hostile asset and strike it.
“This allows for minimized collateral damage and higher effectiveness, especially in more dense urban settings,” Rafael said.
SOLD TO 40 COUNTRIES, UKRAINE OUT
The missile will be available for customers at the beginning of 2023 at a price similar to the 5th generation SPIKE NLOS.
The Spike has been sold in various versions to 40 countries worldwide, including 20 NATO forces. Though Israel has been asked by Ukraine to sell the missile to the embattled country in order to fight off Russian forces, Jerusalem has denied the request due to geo-political concerns.
Over 33,000 rounds have been produced and supplied and as many as 45 different platforms integrated, including attack helicopters, ground vehicles, marine vessels, and more.
The IDF also has thousands of SPIKE missiles, including specially customized SPIKE SR rocket launchers for its infantry forces that have a reduced weight of 40% to provide greater flexibility to troops in the field during land maneuvers. It’s also in use by the Israel Air Force and Navy.
According to Syrian reports, the SPIKE missile has also been used by Israel against Iranian targets in the war-torn country as part of the IDF’s war-between-wars campaign.
“The SPIKE NLOS serves as the foundation of the entire SPIKE Missile Family which has achieved incredible success and been widely incorporated over the years, being operated by thirty-nine customers around the world.”Ran Gozali
“The SPIKE NLOS serves as the foundation of the entire SPIKE Missile Family which has achieved incredible success and been widely incorporated over the years, being operated by thirty-nine customers around the world,” said Ran Gozali, the head of Rafael’s Land and Naval Division.
“The NLOS has evolved and now we see its most advanced and capable model, its sixth generation. For RAFAEL, it is a source of great pride and emblematic of its creativity and innovation. This advanced NLOS missile demonstrates our understanding of our customers’ operational needs and provides the best possible answer.”
In addition to the SPIKE 6th generation missile, Rafael is also presenting the NMT – the NLOS Mission Taskforce - at the Eurosatory exhibition.
The NMT is a comprehensive, end-to-end operational solution based on a small, mobile combat unit composed of 4X4 or armored vehicles with organic detection, attack, and fire control capabilities.
Combining advanced detection, tracking, and command and control systems, the NMT enables force independence with very high mobility and lethality for wider control of the battlefield by using the mobility of small units operating highly capable systems with long ranges.
Together they establish spatial dominance across various domains, from maritime borders to land borders,” the company said.