Israeli defense firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is offering its most recent Spike missile to the US Army in its competition to find a long-range precision munition for the service’s attack helicopters, Defense News reported, citing a company executive.
In the fall, the army will hold a “shoot-off” to select a long-range precision munition for its AH-64E Apache helicopter and the future attack reconnaissance being developed with three vendors in attendance, according to the outlet.
The army earlier disclosed that it had selected three systems chosen from responses to its 2021 request for information from undisclosed vendors.
The long-range munition the service selects “will be critical” to attack enemy defenses from beyond-line-of-sight range, Defense News explained.
Rafael’s 6th-Gen Spike Missile
Rafael’s sixth-generation Spike missile is a beyond-line-of-sight munition that the company unveiled before the Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris last week.
The company extended the range of the missile to 50 kilometers (31 miles) over the previous variant’s 40 kilometers (25 miles).
The US Army selected the Spike for its Apache helicopters, but wants even greater range “so it can operate in degraded environments.”
The weapon can be launched from air, naval, and land platforms, but the sixth-generation Spike also includes a “salvo feature,” able to launch four at a time and can “hand over control.”
Currently, variants of the weapon are deployed in nearly 40 countries, including 19 NATO members. The company has 11 production lines for the missile outside of Israel and will team with Lockheed Martin to manufacture the munition in the US if it is selected by the army, Defense News wrote.