Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., of Israel, signed a teaming agreement to jointly develop, market, manufacture and support Rafael’s Smart, Precise Impact and Cost-Effective (SPICE™) guidance kits for U.S. sale. The “SPICE” is an Israeli-developed, EO/GPS-guided guidance kit for converting air-droppable unguided bombs into precision guided bombs in a GPS-denied environment. Moreover, it is a ‘fire and forget’ weapon that automatically goes to its target once launching relying only on its navigation/seeker system. A derivative of the “Popeye” (AGM-142 Have Nap) air-to-surface missile, the “Spice” is a product of Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. In use since 2003, SPICE is combat-proven and in service with the Israeli Air Force and several other nations worldwide.
“Access to GPS is becoming increasingly limited in contested environments,” said Mr. Yuval Miller, executive vice president and general manager of Rafael’s Air & C4ISR Division. “SPICE provides a solution to this challenge. Finalizing this exclusive agreement sets the scene for our two companies to provide unmatched mid-range guided air-to-surface weapon systems to enhance mission flexibility and success.” “SPICE offers the U.S. Department of Defense and many allies a capability that no other weapon currently in inventory provides,” said John Varley, vice president at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “By applying our expertise in aircraft integration, mission planning and tailkit design, along with our experience in affordable streamlined production, we will adapt SPICE to meet U.S. standards so bomber and fighter aircraft can benefit from the added mission flexibility that SPICE offers.”
The teaming agreement covers the SPICE 1000 (1,000 pound/453 kilogram weight class) and SPICE 2000 (2,000 pound/907 kilogram weight class) kit variants. Over 60 percent of SPICE is already manufactured in the U.S. in eight states. The “Spice” munition is more advanced than most EO-guided bombs (GBU-15, for example), since it combines the advantages of satellite guidance (such as the ability to engage camouflaged and hidden targets; to provide a “drop-and-forget” option for several such targets simultaneously; and to operate in all weather and lighting conditions) and those of electro-optical guidance into one bomb – reducing the amount of munitions (and hence, payload) that an aircraft has to carry for a given strike mission, increasing its combat radius and maneuverability.