Lockheed Martin and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems have signed a memorandum of understanding to market Rafael’s Smart, Precise Impact and Cost-Effective (Spice) stand-off weapon guidance kits, Lockheed announced.
“SPICE is a leading air-to-surface weapon system offering U.S. and international air forces operating Lockheed Martin’s platforms, as well as strategic bomber aircraft, an important complement to their existing operational capabilities,” said Yuval Miller, Rafael Executive Vice President and head of the Air & C4ISR Division.
“SPICE’s unique features greatly enhance the U.S.’ ability to operate in contested environments.”
Rafael and Lockheed will work together to adapt the system to U.S. standards, he added.
The MOU covers the 1,000-pound (435-kg) Spice 1000 and 2,000-pound Spice 2000 variants.
Spice is a family of stand-off, autonomous, air-to-surface weapon systems capable of operating at high attack volumes in a GPS-denied environment. They have an electro-optical seeker with unique scene-matching algorithms, navigation guidance and homing techniques to achieve operational missions in adverse weather without GPS, according to the company.
The guidance kits convert 1000-lb and 2000-lb general purpose and penetration warheads into precision stand-off strike weapons. The Spice 1000 has a stand-off range of 100 kilometers while the Spice 2000 has a stand-off range of 60 km.
The Israeli Air Force integrated the Spice 1000 kits on its F-16C/D fighter jets in 2016, and declared them operational earlier this year after completing trials in August 2017. They are expected to be integrated onto Israel’s F-16I ‘Soufa’ jets in the near future.
Rafael also markets the Spice for single and dual-seater fighter aircraft including the F-15, F-18, Tornado, Mirage, Rafale Gripen and Eurofighter Typhoon.
The IAF is planning to integrate the Spice 1000 on its F-35 Adir jets, according to reports.
Former IAF commander Major General Amir Eshel said in 2015 that fighters such as the F-35 could be used in urban combat. The IAF used a number of Spice systems to convert Mk-82, Mk-83 and Mk-84 bombs during its last campaign in Gaza.
In May, the current IAF head, Major General Amikam Norman claimed Israel had carried out the world’s first F-35 airstrikes.
“The ‘Adir’ aircraft are already operational and flying combat missions. In fact, we have performed the first operational F-35 strike in the world. We attacked twice in the Middle East using the F-35 – we are the first in the world to do so,” Norman told air force commanders from 20 countries at a conference in Israel.