Republic of Korea Navy AW-159 Wildcat Helicopter Conducts Live Firing of Spike NLOS Missile
Republic of Korea Navy AW-159 Wildcat Helicopter Conducts Live Firing of Spike NLOS Missile

Republic of Korea Navy AW-159 Wildcat Helicopter Conducts Live Firing of Spike NLOS Missile


Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) AW-159 Wildcat helicopter has recently conducted a live firing exercise with the launch of Spike NLOS missile against a surface target. On 15 January 2013, South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration announced the selection of the AW159 to fulfill a requirement of the Republic of Korea Navy for a maritime helicopter, winning out against the MH-60R Seahawk. The batch of eight aircraft were chosen to perform search-and-rescue missions, anti-submarine warfare and surveillance. In January 2014, DAPA announced it will equip its Wildcat helicopters with Spike NLOS missiles to provide a stand-off attack capability for engaging targets such as ground artillery and small vessels.

The first four AW159s were operational by February 2017. ROK Navy Wildcats are fitted with a Seaspray 7400E radar offering 360-degree coverage.Its AESA radar and electro-optic thermal sensor are capable of detecting surface contacts out to 360 km (220 mi; 190 nmi). For anti-submarine duties, the helicopter can operate for over three hours when equipped with the Thales FLASH dipping sonar, two hours with the sonar and one Blue Shark torpedo, and an hour or more with the sonar and two torpedoes; it can also drop sonobuoys. The helicopters operate from the Republic of Korea Navy’s Incheon-class guided missile/coastal defense frigates.

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Republic of Korea Navy AW-159 Wildcat Helicopter Conducts Live Firing of Spike NLOS Missile
Republic of Korea Navy AW-159 Wildcat Helicopter Conducts Live Firing of Spike NLOS Missile

The AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat (previously called the Lynx Wildcat) is a British military helicopter. It is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx designed to serve in the battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles. The AW159 comprises 95% new components; the remaining 5%, consisting of such items as the fuel system and main rotor gearbox, are interchangeable with the Lynx AH7 and HMA8 variants. In British service, common variants are being operated by both the Royal Navy and British Army, having replaced their Lynx Mk.7/8/9 predecessors. The AW159 has also been offered to several export customers, and has been ordered by the Republic of Korea Navy and the Philippine Navy.

Spike NLOS (Non Line Of Sight) is an ultra long-range version of the Spike, with a claimed maximum range of 25 kilometres (16 miles). It is a significantly larger missile than other Spike variants, with an overall weight of around 70 kg (154 lb 5 oz). It can be launched from the ground or from helicopters. It was developed following lessons learned in the Yom Kippur War, which showed a need for a high-precision guided tactical ground-to-ground battlefield missile. The Spike NLOS uses a fiber optic link similar to other Spike versions, but only out to 8 km, after which it employs a radio data link for command guidance. In 2020 the US Army announced its intention to procure Spike NLOS missiles to be mounted on Apache helicopters.

Republic of Korea Navy AW-159 Wildcat Helicopter
Republic of Korea Navy AW-159 Wildcat Helicopter Conducts Live Firing of Spike NLOS Missile
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