SPICE 250: stand-off weapon for European air forces

By Arie Egozi

The dramatic increase in the European defence budgets as a result of the Ukraine war, created the interest of some European countries not only in defense systems made by Israeli companies but also in very advanced offensive systems.

Long range stand-off weapon systems are in focus. According to Israeli sources the Rafael family of Spice gliding bombs is creating “very big” interest in some European countries.

These gliding bombs according to foreign sources are being used by Israel to perform strikes against Iranian related targets in Syria.

Spice is a family of stand-off, autonomous, air-to-surface weapon systems that provide affordable precision in a GPS-denied environment. The combat-proven SPICE family of products includes two guidance kits, SPICE 1000 and SPICE 2000, as well as an all-up round, known as SPICE 250.

The very advanced SPICE 250 stand-off weapon is in use by the Israeli air force and according to foreign media is one of the main tools of the Israeli campaign against the Iranian effort to supply advanced Iranian rockets to the Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In earlier years before the SPICE 250 has become operational with the Israeli air force only the Spice 1000 and Spice 2000 (iron bombs with a guidance kit) have been used in airstrikes.

SPICE 250 has a stand-off range of 62 miles, and can be equipped with either general purpose or penetration 75 kg class warhead.

According to Rafael the Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) is only one of the SPICE 250’s array of technologies which

Includes Automatic Target Acquisition (ATA) and Moving-Target- Detection homing modes, all of which are based on autonomous electro-optic Scene-Matching Algorithms.

“A specific target like a moving vehicle, can be put into the special algorithm and it will look for the matching pixels and bring the weapon system to hit it with absolute accuracy” a company source said.

He added that the special algorithm builds a 3 dimension image of the specific target

The ATR feature is a technological breakthrough, enabling SPICE 250 to effectively learn the specific target characteristics ahead of the strike, using advanced AI and deep-learning technologies.

During the flight, the pilot selects the target type to be attacked and allocates a target to each weapon.

The weapons are launched towards the vicinity of the targets, using their INS for initial navigation. When approaching the target area, the weapons use the ATR mode for detection and recognition of the targets. Each weapon homes in on the pre-defined target, either autonomously or with a human-in-the-loop, aided by the ATR algorithm.

According to Rafael, the combination of the increased loadout of SPICE 250, the unique homing methods for various scenarios, and the effective 75 kg warhead, enables a high volume, autonomous and precise strike capability against multiple target types, with an assured very low collateral damage.

SPICE 250 uses a common aircraft interface and sophisticated Smart Quad Rack (SQR) which simplifies the effort needed for aircraft integration. Four SPICE 250 weapons are carried on each SQR. SPICE 250 can be directly mounted on light attack aircraft store stations, thanks to its small size and lightweight.

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