JERUSALEM — Rafael Advanced Defense Systems hopes its Spike extended-range anti-tank missile will be a good fit for the German and Polish armed forces. Unveiled at the International Defence Industry Exhibition MSPO in Kielce, Poland, the new missile has a range of 10 kilometers (6 miles), but is said to be able to go as far as 16 kilometers when launched from a helicopter.
The precision missile weights less than 35 kilograms (77 pounds), includes a non-line-of-sight capability with a new radio frequency data link, as well as an advanced seeker with a high-resolution infrared sensor that enables multispectral target-tracking. The Israeli company says this makes it ideal for seeking out camouflaged targets or targets in smoky environments.
“Its Tandem HEAT warhead has armor-penetration capabilities of all known main battle tanks and embedded anti-structure capabilities,” according to Rafael. The missile has an option for a blast and fragmentation warhead for targeting fortifications or ships.
The company is designating the Spike ER2 for the German Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters, hoping to continue the success it found fitting the missile on Spanish Tigers.
Rafael hopes the Polish Army will choose the Spike ER2 as a surface-to-surface, precision-guided missile, building on past sales of the Spike LR. It will also offer the Spike ER2 to Poland for its Mi-24 and Sokol helicopters. The new Spike ER2 can be launched from existing launchers, making for smooth integration.
About 30,000 missiles from the Spike family have been exported to more than 30 countries, particularly in eastern Europe and South America. India is expected to ink a $500 million deal for 4,500 anti-tank Spike missiles, while Australia chose the fifth-generation Spike LR2 earlier this year.
Seth J. Frantzman is the Israel correspondent for Defense News. He has covered conflict in the Mideast since 2010 for different publications. He has experience covering the international coalition against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and he is a co-founder and executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis.