France is evaluating the possible purchase of Rafael's Spike-ER multi-purpose air-to-surface missile to equip its future army fleet of Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters. The system was recently demonstrated to service officials at an Israeli test range using an Israeli air force combat helicopter, with the missile's deployment controlled by a French expert.

France needs to acquire an advanced air-launched weapon for its Tiger aircraft after withdrawing from the development of the Euromissile Trigat LR missile, which is still expected to equip the German army's Tigers. The Rafael-promoted Spike-ER is already in use with the Romanian air force's upgraded Socat assault helicopters, with the electro-optic and imaging- infrared-guided weapon having a maximum range of 8km (4.3nm).

The missile's seeker and fibreoptic datalink enables the aircraft's gunner to conduct real-time target selection and battle damage assessment against armoured targets and other reinforced targets. Up to 16 of the weapons can be carried by aircraft like Boeing's AH-64 Apache, with these capable of being launched in either fire-and-forget, fire, observe and update or fire-and-steer modes. The missile's operator can optimise the weapon's impact point before striking its target by using a lofted trajectory, says Rafael.


Source: Flight International