Latvia is to buy Israel-made Spike anti-tank guided missiles for it CVR-T armored vehicle fleet for €108 million ($132 million), the Latvian armed forces said in a press release.
Defense minister Raimonds Bergmanis on Monday, February 12 signed the deal with EuroSpike, the German joint venture formed by Diehl BGT Defence, Rheinmetall and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to market the missiles in Europe, the release said.
Rafael is the prime contractor, but Diehl Defence and Rheinmetall will be involved in the production of the missile systems as subcontractors, and delivery is expected to be complete by 2023.
The release did not specify which Spike variant is to be purchased, but the new systems will be paired with its CVR-T armored fighting vehicles acquired from the United Kingdom. Latvia spent £39.4 million on 123 overhauled and refurbished ex-British Army vehicles in 2014, reportedly Scimitar, Sultan, Spartan, Samson and Samaritans.
Speaking on public broadcaster LTV ahead of the signing, Bergmanis said “I think this is a very significant day, as anti-tank capability was one of the elements that was very necessary.”
“The development of anti-tank capability is one of the priorities for defense industry purchases and the anti-tank missile system “Spike” has been recognized as the most appropriate one meeting operational requirements of the National Armed Forces,” the ministry said.
Spike is fielded by 28 countries including the Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Germany, and Rafael says more than 23,000 Spike systems have been purchased worldwide.
The Spike system originated as a fire-and-forget man-portable anti-tank guided missile system (MANPADS) with a range of 2.5-4km, depending on variant. The vehicle-mounted extended-rage variant has a range of 8km, while the non-line-of-sight variant can hit targets at up to 25km.
The American-made FGM-148 Javelin is one of Spike’s major competitors. In November, The U.S. State Department approved the sale to Georgia of Javelin ATGMs and contracts were issued in 2015 and 2016 for the production of Javelins purchased by Latvian neighbour Estonia.