The Australian Army’s new Rheinmetall Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles will carry Israeli-designed Spike LR2 anti-tank guided missiles, a senior Australian defense official said.
Both BAE and Rheinmetall competed for the vehicle contract, and both had selected the Spike missile as their ATGM of choice.
In March, Rheinmetall’s Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle won the Au$5.2 billion ($4.1 billion) Land 400 Phase 2 Project contract. The 211-vehicle procurement is the largest ever acquisition for the Australian Army.
“Both Rheinmetall and BAE selected the Spike. We conducted independent study to have a look at that, to ensure that we we happy with that,” Major General David Coghlan, head of Land Systems Division, told a Senate committee.
“DSTG [Defence Science and Technology Group] did an independent study, land systems division looked at it, we made a recommendation to the capability manager, they’ve accepted the Spike,” Coghlan said.
“They [Rafael] are a subsystem provider to Rheinmetall so they tendered to Rheinmetall, we’re currently in negotiation with Rheinmetall on Phase 2,” he said.
Coghlan said the contract between Rafael and Rheinmetall cannot be discussed because negotiations between Rheinmetall and the Ministry of Defence on the LAND 400 Phase 2 project are ongoing, Defence Connect reported.
According to Defence Connect, Spike manufacturer Rafael partnered with Australia’s Varley Group in 2017 and are to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Australia to provide production and support for the missile. The facility will become the first outside Israel to manufacture the Spike LR2.
Varley Rafael Australia have also outlined transfer of technology from Israel to Australia.
The Spike system originated as a fire-and-forget man-portable anti-tank guided missile system 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.
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.
This post was edited to remove an incorrect reference to MANPADS