Rafael will launch deliveries of its Spike LR II air-to-surface missile in the fourth quarter of 2018, having already secured a first customer.

An evolution of the Israeli company's Spike series of helicopter-launched weapons, the new design features extended-range performance. It carries either a tandem high-explosive anti-tank warhead, offering a 30% increase in armour penetration capability, or a multi-purpose blast warhead, the fuse for which can be optimised after launch, according to target requirements.

To be displayed for the first time at the Paris air show later this month, the Spike LR II also gains a new electro-optical/infrared seeker with smart target tracker capabilities, the company says.

"Rafael has developed the new version to answer the operational requirements of clients that are engaged in asymmetric warfare, and those that have to cope with advanced tanks equipped with active armour," says Gal Papier, marketing and business development manager for the company's precision tactical weapon systems directorate.

Weighing 12.7kg (28lb), the new missile can be launched from any current Spike launcher, says Rafael. A Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter can carry up to four two-round launchers. The weapon has an effective range of up to 5.4nm (10km).

Source: FlightGlobal.com