Rafael’s SPIKE LR Missile Increases Footprint; Integrated, Test-fired from Slovenian Armed Forces JLTV Platform

Defence Industry

By ARIE EGOZI

Tel Aviv. A successful demonstration of integration and test firing of Rafael’s SPIKE LR missiles has taken place in Slovenia recently.

The demonstration took place in December last year in presence of representatives of the Ministry of Defence and members of the Slovenian Armed Forces.

The successful live demo included firings of the 12.7mm gun and SPIKE LR missile from the KONGSBERG PROTECTOR Remote Weapon Station mounted on JLTV platform. The demo displayed the enhanced capabilities of the SPIKE launcher, as a force multiplier for the mobilized land forces, enabling precision strike against armored targets with improved precision at extended ranges and beyond-line-of-sight.

During the demonstration, the Slovenian army also fired SPIKE missiles using the new dismounted digital SPIKE launcher ICLU, as part of ongoing transition in all SPIKE Missile user nations to new digital NCW-ready launchers and to 5th generation SPIKE LR2 missiles.

Similarly to all other SPIKE launchers, the integration of the SPIKE LR missile to the KONGSBERG PROTECTOR Remote Weapon Station includes a provision for SPIKE LR2, a fifth-generation multipurpose missile, equipped with improved engagement ranges of up to 5.5 km, with a reduced weight (13.4 kg), enhanced lethality, advanced target recognition and tracking, and a new third-party target allocation (network-enabled) enhancement with an embedded inertial measurement unit (IMU) assembly.

In October 2018, the Slovenia Ministry of Defence signed an inter-governmental Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) with the US Government for the purchase of 38 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV) manufactured by Oshkosh Defense. Slovenia Armed Forces will receive the JLTVs in early 2021.

Procurement of the JLTV supports the fulfillment of NATO’s capability goals for the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) and greatly increases SAF interoperability with US and regional allies currently operating JLTV. All 38 JLTV platforms will be equipped with Protector RWS.

Roman Palaria, director of marketing and business development at Rafael’s Precision Tactical Weapon Systems directorate, said: “We sincerely thank the Slovenian Army, one of our longtime SPIKE users, for their devoted assistance in demonstrating SPIKE’s capabilities, especially in these challenging times.”

EuroSpike’s, a European Joint Venture among Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Diehl Defence and Rheinmettal Defence, SPIKE LR is part of the wider, multi-platform, multi-purpose, multi-range SPIKE family of electro-optical missiles.

The international success of the Spike missiles developed by Rafael in Israel has resulted in more versions. One that has created huge interest immediately after it was unveiled, is the Spike NLOS. This is beyond-line-of-sight version of the fibre-optical guided missile. This version has an effective range of 25 km. It is already used by certain units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Like the previous versions, the launching can be made from land, air or sea.

Rafael is very careful about keeping the Spike as a “family” with built-in growth potential, and therefore the new non line of sight (NLOS) version can be equipped with all the warheads that fit the shorter range members of the family.

The Spike NLOS is an ideal missile to work in conjunction with different sensors that can provide real time target data. This is especially true when the missile is getting data from unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The UAVs are becoming one of the main sources for real time target data for quick reaction weapon systems like the Spike multi-purpose missiles.

The Spike family of missiles was made public in 1990 when the first member was unveiled. At first the Spike was dubbed an anti-amour missile but soon it gained the more adequate label of a multipurpose missile. It is now considered one if not the most versatile missile in its category.

These missiles have gained great respect from the professionals in many armies and currently they are operated by Israel, several Asian and Latin American countries, and by a number of NATO countries, including Poland, Spain, Italy, Romania, Finland, and the Czech Republic. Spike missiles were also selected to equip the German Puma.

-The writer is an Israel-based freelance journalist

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