Rafael enhances Spice bomb guidance kit

Tel Aviv
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Rafael's Spice bomb guidance kit has become more lethal, and can now be used with a variety of attack techniques to achieve maximum impact within a short time, the company says.

In a rare interview, Dr Roni Potasman, Rafael's executive vice-president for research and development, says the Spice is now a "main system" in the inventory of the Israeli air force. The kit has also been exported to a number of air forces.

The guidance kit has been adapted to small smart bombs, which are being used in growing numbers in limited conflicts. For example, it can now be installed on 113kg (250lb) weapons, used to reduce collateral damage. Rafael says a Lockheed Martin F-16 could carry up to 16 such weapons.

Rafael says the system can be loaded with 100 potential targets in a given area, with GPS/INS navigation and the use of a TV/imaging infrared sensor enabling a claimed circular error of probability figure of less than 3m (9.8ft).

Potasman says the kit's automatic target acquisition capability is based on a unique scene-matching technology that can handle scenery changes, countermeasures, navigation errors and target location errors. This provides pinpoint accuracy and positive target identification, while overcoming the threat posed by GPS jamming, he adds.

The basic Spice kit is used on Mk 84 908kg bombs, with its folding wing increasing the range of such a weapon to over 32nm (60km). This version is operational with the Israeli air force, and has been used in combat. Rafael has also adapted the system for the 454kg Mk 83 weapon, which is able to strike targets from a range of over 54nm and could gain further stand-off performance through an upgrade.