Growing demand for Spike anti-tank missiles in Europe

By Arie Egozi

Israeli defence company Rafael has through the years developed some "best sellers" that are used by a long list of armies around the world. One of these is the family of Spike missiles. The different variants of this missile are in operational use in 39 countries. These have purchased 50,000 missiles so far and negotiations are underway with some new potential customers.

Denmark purchased the Spike LR2. Estonia operates the LR varaiant, Latvia is operating the LR, LR2, ER and SR variants.

What is the secret of this international success that keeps bringing new contracts?

Talking to Israeli experts that are still serving in the reserve forces of the Israeli defence forces (IDF) the answer is almost identical “these missiles answer a big variety of operational scenarios ”

The big success was behind the decision to form EuroSpike, a joint venture between Rafael , Diehl Defense, Rheimetall that is in charge of selling the Israeli made missiles to European customers , training the troops and maintaining the arsenal.

The Spike family of missiles includes the following variants – SR with a range of 2 km, LR2 with a range of 5.5 km , ER 2 with a range of 10 km and the NLOS with a range of 30 km.

SPIKE SR benefits include a light weight of only 10kg, operational simplicity, and an enhanced range of 2000 meters. SPIKE SR’s ease-of-use allows the lower echelon infantry to qualify rapidly and to sustain a high level of operation with almost no continuous training.

These capabilities enhance infantry crew survivability when facing today’s modern tank threat that includes better armor, greater standoff ranges and advanced optics, which place ATGM units at risk. With its very low signature and single-soldier operation, Spike SR enables forces to shoot-and-scoot without exposing their location. This is a crucial capability for both high intensity conflict, when facing an armored invasion, as well as in hybrid warfare, when proxy armored forces operate to hold ground.

Packed in a 98 cm long canister, Spike SR is highly portable, allowing infantry to easily and rapidly deploy with the weapon in any ground infantry maneuver.

Latvia also selected the Spike missiles for its armed forces. The deal includes the LR, LR2, ER and SR variants.

Spike LR2 is a 5th generation missile with an engagement range of 5.5km, and SpikeSR is a company-level fire-and-forget light missile for 2km.

The Spike SR is a light shoulder-launched disposable fire-and-forget missile, effective up to 2km. weighing only 10 kg, and with a dual seeker, the SPIKE SR allows the maneuvering infantry to acquire and engage fast-moving targets at short range, thanks to its advanced tracker.

There is a forum of the Spike users and when it convenes the users share their combat experience and ask for upgrades.

The growing trend of developing manned and unmanned combat vehicles has opened a new potential market for the different Spike missiles. The missiles can be integrated in a weapon station that is carried by the vehicle or installed on a launcher attached to the vehicle.

Rafael expects more sales of the Spike in the coming months with European countries as leading customers.



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