Israel’s Defense Ministry has placed an order for Rafael’s Spike FireFly loitering munition for the IDF ground forces.Known as FireFly, it was jointly developed by the ministry and Rafael for the dismounted soldier who is fighting within the urban arena where, despite precision being critical, the enemy is behind cover and the soldier’s situational awareness is limited. Weighing only three kg., the light, small and agile munition can be rapidly deployed within seconds. It is portable, durable and includes a rugged airframe to withstand the harsh environment of urban combat. “The operation of FireFly is very intuitive, with no special skills required,” Rafael said in a statement. “FireFly enables overmatch to break combat deadlock, and has a lethal effect on stationary and moving targets with or without line-of-sight to operator.”The weapon system kit includes three miniature loitering munitions and a control unit which is based on a ruggedized 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 which can loiter for a maximum of 15 minutes at a maximum altitude of 500 meters in urban terrain and 1500 m. in open areas, reported Jane's Defence Weekly, a magazine covering military and corporate affairs.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).According to Rafael, these features served as a basis for the development of FireFly, as well as the tailoring of the weapon system to its unique mission profile of urban combat.Rafael has four missiles in the Spike family – Spike NLOS, Spike ER, Spike MR/LR and Spike SR – and has supplied over 27,000 Spike missiles and systems to over 26 countries, including the Philippines, Lithuania, Australia and India, where they are used by armies on various naval and land system platforms."We are very proud of this contract, and we believe the procurement of FireFly by the IDF will dramatically revolutionize the infantry doctrines in urban close-combat, enabling precision engagement for the lower tactical echelons beyond-line-of-sight,” said Dr. Ran Gozali, EVP & head of the Land & Naval Division of Rafael. “This will give IDF soldiers a tactical edge in close combat,” he said. “We see the Firefly as a building block in future potential applications for a large variety of battle arenas.”