You need precise weapon systems when collateral damage may mean the difference between a local incident and a war.
This was the case last week on the Israeli-Syrian border. The Syrian army or rebel forces fired on an Israeli patrol. In response, a Rafael Spike missile was launched and the shooters were killed. This kept the incident in a local context.
On borders such accurate weapons are a critical tool.
Rafael developed the Spike family of missiles for a variety of missions.
The first member of the family was unveiled in 1990. At first, the Spike was dubbed an antiarmour missile, but soon it gained the more adequate label of a multipurpose weapon. It is now considered one of, if not the most versatile missile in its category.
The Spike family includes: the SR, with a range of 800m (2,625ft); the MR (Gill) (2.5km), the LR (4km); the ER (formerly known as the NTD) (8km); and the NLOS (25km).
The NLOS can be deployed on many types of helicopters. Its weight, 70kg (154lb), is a limiting factor, but according to a source, an Apache can carry eight NLOSs, while the Tiger can carry four or more.
Rafael will not discuss any future versions, but says the Spike family has built-in growth potential.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has not disclosed what version was used on the Syrian border, but it is not relevant. The ease of use and, more importantly, the ability to launch from many platforms, make these missiles a weapon that, on one hand, are deadly and, on the other, hit only what you intend to hit.