Varley Rafael Australia (VRA) and Thales Australia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and commenced collaboration to explore future Australian production of the RAFAEL SPIKE family of guided weapon directly enabling the accelerated delivery of a Sovereign Guided Weapons manufacturing and sustainment capability in support of the Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise. The immediate focus of the collaboration is the review of manufacturing the SPIKE LR2 Anti-Tank Guided Missile’s advanced rocket propulsion system, warheads, Hot-Integration and associated storage requirements.
This collaboration reinforces both VRA and Thales Australia’s commitment to support acceleration of Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise capability and Australian Content growth in key areas of advanced manufacturing and maintenance utilising Australian suppliers and ensuring the ADF receives a capability advantage through locally manufactured guided weapons essential for the defence of Australia. VRA, from its facility in South East Melbourne, has recently completed the manufacture of SPIKE Integration Kits (SIKs) for LAND400-2 Boxer vehicles and is currently engaged by the Commonwealth to support Technical Certification of the SPIKE LR2 ATGM towards Introduction into Service of the missile.
VRA and Thales Australia, have also commenced collaboration to review and advance SPIKE LR2 sovereign supply and sustainment capability. This partnership will leverage the existing supply chains of both organisations and bring new SMEs into the GWEO enterprise ecosystem. AIDN, ADA and Thales recently co-hosted a GWEO supply chain event where over 300 companies heard from VRA’s CEO about the opportunities SPIKE LR2 establishment will deliver to Australian industry. Through the new technology transfer to Australia, this new manufacturing partnership will be a significant driver of growth in Australia’s Sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance Enterprise, boosting investment in SMEs, R&D and delivering long-term jobs.
“VRA is an Australian joint venture established between the VARLEY GROUP – a 135 years old Australian engineering company and long term supplier to the Australian Defence Force and RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems – a global leader in Guided Weapons, looks forward to maximising Australian participation in SPIKE LR2 local production and support including the opportunity to produce advanced energetics in Australia, enhancing existing local Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance capabilities and growing an upskilled high technology workforce”.
The SPIKE LR2 ATGM is a 5th generation precision guided weapon system, selected by Australia for the LAND 400 Program and the LAND 159 Lethality System Program. Already ordered by eleven other nations, the missile’s selection by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will be augmented by an extensive Transfer of Technology (ToT) program that will upskill Australian industry to deliver domestic guided missile production and comprehensive in-service support to the ADF. VRA’s ToT leverage’s proven RAFAEL processes and experience in establishing local production and support capabilities delivering a Sovereign Guided Weapons Manufacturing capability, high technology local content jobs and upskilling of the Australian work force.
Spike is an Israeli fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile and anti-personnel missile with a tandem-charge HEAT warhead, currently in its fourth generation. It was developed and designed by the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It is available in man-portable, vehicle-launched, and helicopter-launched variants. As well as engaging and destroying targets within the line-of-sight of the launcher (“fire-and-forget”), some variants of the missile are capable of making a top attack through a “fire, observe and update” method (essentially lock-on after launch); the operator tracking the target, or switching to another target, optically through the trailing fiber-optic wire (or RF link in the case of the vehicle-mounted, long-range NLOS variant) while the missile is climbing to altitude after launch. This is similar to the lofted trajectory flight profile of the US FGM-148 Javelin.