Eurospike SPIKE LR2 Anti-Tank Guided Missile
Eurospike SPIKE LR2 Anti-Tank Guided Missile

Israel Rejects US Request to Approve Spike Anti-tank Guided Missile transfer to Ukraine

Israel turned down a U.S. request to allow Berlin to supply Ukraine with anti-tank missiles produced in Germany with Israeli technology under an Israeli license. Under pressure from the Biden administration, Israel has adjusted its policy toward Moscow and gradually taken a more pro-Ukraine position than it did when Russia began its invasion. But it has so far not supplied advanced weaponry to Ukraine. Earlier this week, Axios reported that Colin Kahl, U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy, met with Eshel and raised the Biden administration’s efforts to get countries around the world to supply Ukraine with weapons. Kahl asked Eshel if Israel would give permission to Germany to transfer “Spike” Anti-tank Guided Missiles to Ukraine.

Rafael Fires SPIKE NLOS Missile from Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) in Estonia
Rafael Fires SPIKE NLOS Missile from Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) in Estonia

Spike is an Israeli fire-and-forget anti-tank guided 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, 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 while the missile is climbing to altitude after launch. This is similar to the lofted trajectory flight profile of the US FGM-148 Javelin.

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Eurospike SPIKE LR2 Anti-Tank Guided Missile
Eurospike SPIKE LR2 Anti-Tank Guided Missile

Spike is equipped with an imaging infrared seeker. The long and extended range versions of the Spike also have the capability of “Fire, Observe and Update” operating mode (also known as Lock-on after launch (LOAL)). With this, the operator can obtain a target if it is not in the line of sight of the operator at launch, switch targets in flight, or compensate for the movement of the target if the missile is not tracking the target for some reason. Hence, the missile can be fired speculatively for a target of opportunity, or to provide observation on the other side of an obstacle. The missile has a soft launch capability – the motor firing after the missile has left the launcher – that allows the missile to be fired from confined spaces, which is a necessity in urban warfare.

BAE Systems has successfully fired an integrated, long-range anti-tank guided missile from the CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicle in recent tests.
BAE Systems has successfully fired a SPIKE LR Anti-Tank Guided Missile from the CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

In order to facilitate the selling of the weapon system in Europe, the company EuroSpike GmbH was formed in Germany. Its shareholders Diehl Defence (40%), Rheinmetall Defence Electronics (40%) and Rafael via ERCAS B.V (20%). ERCAS B.V. is a Dutch holding company owned 100% by Rafael. EuroSpike GmbH is located in Röthenbach, Germany. The European variant of the Spike weapon system differs a little from the Israeli version and is marketed under the name EuroSpike. Additionally due to the success of SPIKE sales throughout Europe, most members of the NATO alliance are SPIKE users which ensures interoperability and also has advantages when needing to stock during exercises. The missiles were also marketed and produced under license in Singapore by ST Engineering.

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