Rafael has started production of its Spice stand-off precision guidance kit and is adapting the system for smaller bombs than the initial weapon's 2,000lb (900kg) Mk84 bomb.

Sources at Rafael at Haifa, northern Israel, say initial production for the Israeli air force has started following the conclusion of tests last year. Spice provides a greater than 60km (32nm) range, while accuracy is "better than" the 3m specified.

The officials add that the kit has also been cleared for the BLU-109 penetrator warhead.

Rafael is now adapting the kit for the smaller 1,000lb (450kg) Mk83 bomb. One source says: "We have a programme to fit the system to the Mk83. It's a simple task and we'll have it ready within a year."

The forward element, which contains the electro-optical (EO) seeker and a combined inertial/GPS satellite navigation system will be unchanged.

The rear element - comprising wings, moveable tail surfaces to steer the weapon and the power supply - will be modified to match the Mk83's smaller diameter. A senior programme official says all systems will be unaltered, as the existing line-replaceable units will fit the new profile.

One official adds that Rafael is considering Spice technology with lighter warheads, creating a system similar to the US small diameter bomb programme.


Spice guides the bomb initially using inertial guidance before the wide-angle field of view (FoV) EO sensor takes over. The weapon uses scene matching to determine its target which "means target location error is not an issue".

During approach to the target the seeker compares its image with one loaded as part of mission planning.

An official says a wide FoV seeker is used to give Spice an off-boresight capability. Once the weapon has been released it is autonomous; four weapons can be carried on an F-16-class fighter.

GPS guidance is "only a backup", says a source, adding that if the EO sensor cannot acquire the target for some reason, Spice has the accuracy of a JDAM-type GPS-guided weapon.

Source: Flight Daily News