By ARIE EGOZI
Tel Aviv. Rafael and Rafael Systems Global Sustainment (RSGS), a US subsidiary of Rafael demonstrated the SPIKE SR (Short Range) missile at the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) 2021 earlier this month.
AEWE 2021 is assessing advanced technologies in support of US Army modernization efforts, including the Army’s six modernization priorities. As a portable, electro-optical guided missile, designed for today’s modern infantry, SPIKE SR is especially well-suited to enhance soldier lethality, one of the six priorities.
SPIKE SR, which is part of the Spike Family of anti-tank guided weapons, provides a light weight (10 kg), shoulder-fired munition, with an enhanced range of 2000 meters, increasing lethality at the individual squad level. SPIKE SR’s features, including its ease of use, allow lower echelon infantry to rapidly qualify and sustain a high level of operation with minimal training.
AEWE assessed SPIKE SR as a precision munition system for infantry squads, for which portability and simplicity of operation is essential. AEWE also assessed the system for its ability to allow close-combat formations to dominate the operational environment and handle new threats in a near-peer conflict.
During the assessment, live SPIKE SR missiles hit both static and moving targets in day (EO) and IR modes. Challenges included overcoming battlefield obscurants that effectively eliminated the target from the field of view. Soldiers received instruction on the operation of the weapon, including indoor and outdoor training. US Army evaluators provided positive feedback on the system’s light weight, lethality and ease of use compared to what is currently in use by the US Army.
RSGS, supported by Rafael, organized the demonstration for the assessment. The experiment was managed by the US Army’s Maneuver Battle Lab and US combat veterans from the 1st Battalion, and 29th Infantry Regiment, also known as the EXFOR, participated in the assessment. The event was well attended by senior US Army officials, including from Army Futures Command: the Maneuver Center of Excellence, and the acquisition community. This assessment was the first live-fire demonstration of SPIKE SR on US soil.
“We were greatly honored to present the advanced SPIKE SR missile system for assessment by the AEWE team. This light-weight system can greatly enhance squad-level soldier lethality, a core capability of the Army,” said LTG. (Ret.) Joe Anderson, President and CEO of Rafael Systems Global Sustainment,
The capability of an infantry soldier to kill an advanced well protected main battle tank (MBT) has been demonstrated by Rafael in a recent series of tests with its new version of the Spike missile.
In a recent series of tests in the Negev Desert in southern Israel, Rafael demonstrated the SPIKE SR (Short Range) Precision guided missile, proving its unique lethal capability.
SPIKE SR is an electro-optical guided missile designed for shoulder launch by infantry. It is the smallest and lightest variant of the SPIKE Missile family, weighing only 10kg, in use today by several nations, including within NATO.
The entire SPIKE Family is now operational in 34 nations, with more than 33,000 rounds produced and supplied, and as many as 45 different platforms integrated, including attack helicopters, ground vehicles, marine vessels and more.
According to the Israeli company, SPIKE SR was designed for the maneuvering forces, allowing standoff engagement ranges of 2000 meters, formerly covered only by heavier ATGMs. Designed as a portable, fully disposable munition the SPIKE SR carries a powerful High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead, joined with a frontal precursor for clearing of Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) tiles.
During the demonstration, operators hit targets located 2000 meters away, presenting both a great standoff range to enhance the survivability of maneuvering infantry, as well as lethality, with impressive armor penetration results.
-The writer is an Israel-based freelance journalist