4 Desember 2009
The new Spike NLOS mounted on a ground vehicle (photo : Defencetalk)
Israel’s Rafael Launches New Spike NLOS Missile
Within its Spike anti-tank guided missile family, the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. Recently unveiled a new version with non-line of sight (NLOS) capability, meaning that the system can strike targets which are not located in view of the missile launcher. As the company announced earlier this week, the new Spike NLOS has a significantly increased range of up to 25 kilometres which by far surpasses the four to eight kilometre limit of older versions.
The electro-optical multi-purpose Spike missiles can be fired from by attack helicopters, ground vehicles and naval vessels and are used by 18 military customers throughout the world including by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF). The third-generation anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) are used in a fire-and-forget mode with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance, supported by the combination of a charge-coupled device and an infra-red seeker.
The NLOS version of the Spike missile system is capable of being used during the day and night. In addition to its ability of independently homing after launch without operator interference, the use of fibre optics allows updating data while in the air and gives the operator the opportunity to divert its course to avoid missing its target or harming innocent targets. Sources report that the long range has been achieved by increasing the size of the motor. Consequently, this lead to an increase of overall weight from 34kg (Spike ER) to 70kg.
According to the company, the Spike NLOS can receive target location from an embedded target acquisition system (TAS) system, external sensors, C4I centre or unmanned air systems (UAS). David Stemer, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Missiles and NCW Division at Rafael, says that "the Spike NLOS [...] enables Rafael to give forces, on any modern battlefield, the most effective means to deal with all threats." He further explained that, "The existence of the family of Spike systems is a result of Rafael's ability to adapt itself to the needs of the users and to continually provide them with the most cost effective, advanced technology and the best operational capability available.
Although, upon enquiry of defpro.com, the company denied to disclose further information on the new Spike version, it can be said that the long-range NLOS solution if a considerable further development of the original Spike concept that significantly broadens the envelope of capabilities of this weapon system. As ‘Flight’ reports at flightglobal.com, the Spike NLOS is already operational with a military customer which is most likely to be the IDF. The media service further stated Rafael is also offering the weapon for export, starting with the Spike family's existing customers.