“Spike missiles are primarily designed for engaging high-value targets such as tanks and armored vehicles. So far, the conscripts in this call have only practiced with simulation systems. Weapon teams need real-life experience as it differs somewhat from simulations,” said Captain Ragnar Rannamets, the commander of the Anti-Tank Company.
The recent missile firings were noteworthy for several reasons. It was the first time in Estonia that a Spike LR2 missile was fired at pre-determined coordinates, reaching a distance of 3.8 kilometers. Additionally, the exercise involved target switching and firing from concealed positions, the Estonian Defence Forces said in a statement.
Compared to the LR1 variant, Spike LR2 offers additional capabilities, allowing the crew to engage targets based on predetermined coordinates without visual contact. To ensure a smooth operation, instructors from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the manufacturer of the Spike missile, were present.
Target switching enables the missile operator to redirect the flight path towards a different target during its trajectory. This is useful when a previously locked missile needs to be redirected towards a higher-priority target, such as an exposed command vehicle, instead of a tank. Therefore, the missile, initially locked onto the tank, is redirected and destroyed upon reaching the new target.
Furthermore, the missile teams were concealed in real-combat scenarios to make detection more challenging. The Spike LR1 missile was fired from a concealed position on the terrain, successfully hitting the target.
“I fired the Spike LR1 missile, and it was a great feeling. There was some tension, but I followed the team leader’s instructions, and we hit the target perfectly. The training paid off, as I was prepared for any unexpected situations. It was a successful day,” expressed Gregor-Mathias Bamberg, a Spike missile operator in the Anti-Tank Company.
The Anti-Tank Company of the 1st Infantry Brigade’s Division supports the infantry units in combat and independently neutralizes enemy armored vehicles. The Anti-Tank Company operates as an independent unit, with its commander reporting directly to the commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade.