The Finnish Armed Forces have contracted with EuroSpike GmbH to supply Spike antitank guided missiles. Eurospike is a joint venture based in Röthenbach a.d. Pegnitz between Diehl Defence GmbH & Co. KG, Rheinmetall Electronics GmbH and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. For Rheinmetall, the order is worth a figure in the mid-double-digit million-euro range. The company has already integrated this advanced guided missile into various combat vehicles. Of great importance for Rheinmetall, this order also underscores the tremendous trust placed in EuroSpike GmbH: the German-Israeli joint venture is now an industrial mainstay of the antitank capability of many EU and NATO member nations.
Spike is an Israeli fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile and anti-personnel missile with a tandem-charge high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead. 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. The missile can engage and destroy targets within the line-of-sight of the launcher (“fire-and-forget”), and some variants can make 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.
The German armed forces were among the first Spike users. A version of the system known as the Mehrrollenfähiges Leichtes Lenkflugkörpersystem (MELLS; multi-role light guided missile system) is in service with the Bundeswehr. Made by EuroSpike – a joint venture in which Rheinmetall holds a 40% stake – the MELLS is a latest-generation effector designed for engaging armoured targets at ranges of up to 4,000 metres or, depending on the model, up to 5,500 metres. Rheinmetall possesses extensive experience with the MELLS. The company has already integrated this modern guided missile into the Marder 1A5 infantry fighting vehicles and is currently doing so in the Puma infantry fighting vehicles and Wiesel 1 airmobile weapon carriers.
Eurospike is responsible for the marketing of the missiles of the SPIKE family in Europe. The missile is produced at several sites in Germany. Commonalities between the missiles of the SPIKE family ensure a cost advantage in the production and consequently in the purchase, maintenance and training in the use of specific missiles. 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 Eurospike missile family is comprised of: SPIKE SR, the new Spike LR2 and ER2 ranges up to 10 km, as well as the Spike NLOS ranging from 50 m to 30 km.