At MSPO in Kielce, Poland, on 4 September, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems unveiled the SPIKE ER2, a fifth-generation extended range missile designed for joint tactical overmatch for ground manoeuvre, naval deterrence and dominance in the helicopter domain.
The missile will compete as the system of choice for the German TIGER helicopter programme, leveraging its experience in integrating SPIKE ER to the Spanish TIGER fleet; as well as for the Polish Army’s requirements, both for a surface-to-surface vehicle-mounted standoff-range precision guided munition (PGM) and for a helicopter PGM to equip the upgraded Mi-24 and SOKOL aircraft.
The new missile features a number of new capabilities, plus greater standoff range of up to 10km for surface launch and 16km when fired from a helicopter and Non-Line-Of-Sight (NLOS) engagement capabilities, while retaining the SPIKE legacy of relatively light weight (less than 34kg) and high lethality. All these constitute significant differentiating factors for the PGM market.
The SPIKE ER (Extended Range) variant, which has now been upgraded to SPIKE ER2, is the middle member of the family, with a range of 8km and a vast platform portfolio, including the Spanish Army TIGER helicopter, Colombian Air Force BLACKHAWKs, Italian AW129 MANGUSTAs, Romanian SUPER PUMAs and the SUPER COBRA, as well as many different types of ground vehicles and naval vessels. The wider SPIKE family has been integrated onto over 45 platforms and is in use with 30 nations, which have collectively received in excess of 30,000 missiles and conducted over 5,000 live firings.
SPIKE ER2 includes a new RF datalink variant to maximise range for enhanced (16km) stand-off launch from helicopters. It also contains a modern advanced seeker with high-resolution IR and day sensors for extended range target acquisition, and a multispectral target tracker, enabling sensory data fusion - an important feature in the obscured environments of today's battlefields. The missile also has a special maritime target tracker which can sustain target lock-on in the maritime environment.
The missile’s seeker was designed for the modern battle arena, enabling ‘hotswap’ capabilities – sensory swap between IR and visible spectra in mid-flight – ideal for detection of camouflaged targets. In addition, the SPIKE ER2 has network connectivity and NLOS engagement capabilities, including an embedded Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) for third-party target allocation, allowing missile to be fired to NLOS grid target coordinates.
The missile’s enhanced lethality results from a combination of very high precision, regardless of range; a very high angle of attack; and advanced warheads. Its advanced tandem HEAT warhead will defeat all known main battle tank armour and has embedded anti-structure capabilities. A penetration, blast and fragmentation warhead for anti-fortification/anti-ship use is also available as an option. SPIKE ER2 has built-in, risk-free integration and is compatible with all SPIKE family legacy launchers, requiring only software updates for rapid fielding.