Spike (missile)

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SPIKE ATGM launcher control unit (LCU) with mock-up SPIKE LR missile mounted on a tripod at Singapore Army Open House 2007
Type Man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank missile
Place of origin Israel
Service history
In service 1997 - Present
Used by See Operators
Wars Second Intifada, 2006 Lebanon War, War in Afghanistan (2001–present), Gaza War
Production history
Designed 1987
Manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems
Diehl BGT Defence (Now part of Rheinmetall Defence Electronics)
Produced 1997 - Present
Variants See Versions
Weight Spike-ER from helicopter:

• Missile in canister: 34 kg (74 lb 15 oz)
• Launcher: 55 kg (121 lb 4 oz)
• Launcher + 4 missiles: 187 kg (412 lb 4 oz)
Spike-MR/LR from ground:[3]
• Missile round: 14 kg (30 lb 14 oz)
• Launch control unit: 5 kg (11 lb 0 oz)
• Tripod: 2.8 kg (6 lb 3 oz)
• Battery: 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz)
• Thermal sight: 4 kg (8 lb 13 oz)

Length 1,670 mm (5 ftin) (Missile w/launcher)
Diameter 170 mm (6.7 in) (Missile w/launcher)

Rate of fire Ready to launch in 30 seconds, reload in 15 seconds
Maximum range 800 to 25,000 m (2,600 to 82,000 ft) depending on version
Sights 10× optical sight
Warhead Tandem-charge HEAT warhead

Engine Solid-fuel rocket
Infrared homing - Electro Optical (CCD, IR or Dual CCD/IIR), Passive CCD or dual CCD/IIR seeker

Spike is a fourth generation[4] Man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile with Tandem-charged HEAT warhead, developed and designed by the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and in service with a number of nations.

As well as engaging and destroying targets within the line-of-sight of the launcher ("Fire-and-forget"), some variants of the missile are capable of making a top-attack profile through a "Fire, Observe and Update" guidance method;[4] the operator tracking the target, or switching to another target, optically through the trailing fiber-optic wire while the missile is climbing to altitude after launch. This is similar to the lofted trajectory flight profile of the US FGM-148 Javelin.


File:Spike LR 3.jpg
Israeli soldier with Gil type Spike launcher

Spike is a fire-and-forget missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self-guidance. The missile is equipped with an imaging infrared seeker.

The medium, long and extended range versions of the Spike also have the capability of "Fire, Observe and Update" operating mode. The missile is connected by a fiber-optical wire that is spooled out between the launch position and the missile. With this the operator can obtain a target if it is not in the line of sight of the operator at launch, switch targets in flight, or compensate for the movement of the target if the missile is not tracking the target for some reason. Hence, the missile can be fired speculatively for a target of opportunity, or for to give an observation on the other side of an obstacle. The missile has a soft launch capability - the motor firing after the missile has left the launcher- which allows for the missile to be fired from confined spaces, which is a necessity in urban warfare.

The missile uses a tandem warhead - two shaped charges, a precursor warhead to detonate any explosive reactive armor and a primary warhead to penetrate the underlying armor. Currently, it is replacing aging second generation anti-tank missiles like the MILAN and M47 Dragon in the armies of the user nations.

The Spike system is made up of the launching tripod with its fire control unit and the missile. There is no dedicated thermal sight on the launcher - the missile's imaging seeker is used. Altogether, the long range variant of the system weighs around 26 kilograms (57 lb)*

Spike can be operated from the launcher by infantry, or from mounts that can be fitted to vehicles such as fast attack vehicles, armored personnel carriers or utility vehicles. Vehicles that are not normally fitted with anti-tank weapons can therefore be given anti-tank capability.

Spike has been tested as a weapon system for the SAGEM Sperwer unmanned aerial vehicle. The Spanish Army has fitted the Spike-ER to its Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters.[clarification needed]


In order to ease the selling of the weapon system in Europe, the company EuroSpike GmbH was formed in Germany. Its shareholders Diehl BGT Defence (40%), Rheinmetall Defence Electronics (40%) and Rafael via ERCAS B.V (20%). ERCAS B.V. is a Dutch holding company owned 100% by Rafael. EuroSpike GmbH is located in Röthenbach, Germany. The Spike weapon system differs a little from the Israeli version and is then marketed under the name STN Atlas EuroSpike.[5]


File:Spike missile launcher 3.jpg
Frontal close-up of the SPIKE missile's Launch control unit with thermal-imagining sight, tripod mount and an attached dummy missile canister.
the short range version of the weapon, minimum range is 200 m (660 ft) while the maximum range is 800 m (2,600 ft) and is intended for infantry use. The launch control unit (LCU), battery, tripod and the thermal sight are also used by other land-based versions (with the exception of Spike NLOS) of the Spike missile family, each weighing 5 kg (11 lb 0 oz), 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz), 2.8 kg (6 lb 3 oz), and 4 kg (8 lb 13 oz) respectively.[3]
the medium range version. The weight of the missile is 14 kg (30 lb 14 oz), minimum range is 200 m (660 ft) while the maximum range is 2,500 m (8,200 ft) and is used by infantry and special forces.[6]
long range version. The weight of the missile is 14 kg (30 lb 14 oz), maximum range is 4,000 m (13,000 ft) and is used by infantry and light combat vehicles. It adds fiber-optic communication to and from the launching soldier during flight.[7] Reported armour penetration capability is approximately 700 mm (28 in) of Rolled homogeneous armour (RHA).[8]
extended range or extra long range version of the weapon. It was formerly also known as the NT-Dandy or NT-D. It has a maximum range of 8,000 m (26,000 ft).[9] It has a larger diameter and is heavier than the other systems, and is usually vehicle mounted. It is used by infantry, LCVs, and helicopters. The Finnish Navy's Coastal Jaegers also operates the version in the anti-ship role. The weight of the missile is 34 kg (74 lb 15 oz), the launchers are 30 kg (66 lb 2 oz) and 55 kg (121 lb 4 oz) respectively for the vehicle and air-launched versions. Penetration is around 1,000 mm (39 in) of RHA.[8]
Spike NLOS
"Non Line Of Sight" is an ultra long range version of the weapon with a claimed maximum range of up to 25 km (16 mi). As a newer, larger missile with an overall weight of around 70 kg (154 lb 5 oz), it can be fired from helicopters. The Spike NLOS is already operational with a military customer, which is most likely to be Israel Defense Forces.[10][11]


Further developments

On 2 Sep 2009, at an IDF exhibition held at the 3rd Latrun annual land warfare conference, the Israeli Defense Force unveiled a new member of the Spike family of missiles - the Mini Spike Anti-personnel guided weapon (APGW).[12][13]


File:Operators of Spike atgm.png
Operators of Spike ATGM colored in dark blue.
File:Spike cutaway diagram.jpg
Cut away diagram of Spike ATGM.
File:Spider LSV with SPIKE ATGM.jpg
Singapore Airshow 2008, a locally developed twin-tube launcher for the Spike as mounted on a Spider Light Strike Vehicle of the Singapore Army.
Total 2,200 missiles.[14]
23x15px Colombia
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Total 244 missiles, delivery starting October 2009.[15]
23x15px Finland
Total 700 missiles, 100 MR (PstOhj 2000) launchers plus an option for 70 more, and 18 ER (Rannikko-ohjus 2006) launchers for coastal anti-ship use.[14]
311 LR launchers on Puma vehicles.[16]
23x15px Israel
MR (Gil), LR (Gomed), ER (Dandy) and NLOS missiles with associated launchers.[10]
23x15px Italy
Total 1,065 missiles. The Italian Army has ordered: 65 Infantry Launchers, 36 LR launchers for the Freccia IFV, 20 LR launchers for the Dardo IFV, 26 indoor and 37 outdoor training systems. The Italian Navy has ordered 6 Infantry Launchers, 2 indoor and 2 outdoor training systems. In total about 1000 missiles in 4 variants; SR, MR, LR and ER are to be procured. The initial contract is worth 120 million Euros.[14]
Total 2,400 missiles, 297 MR launchers.[14]
23x15px Peru
Total 244 missiles,[14] 24 LR launchers ordered in 2009.[17]
23x15px Poland
Total 2,675 missiles, 264 LR launchers.[14] Some will be on KTO Rosomak vehicles.
23x15px Romania
ER launchers on IAR 330 SOCAT attack helicopters and LR launchers on MLI-84M IFVs.[14]
Total 1,000 missiles, Spike LR.[14]
Total 75 missiles, Spike MR and LR. Some will be on Patria AMVs.
Total 2,600 missiles. 236 Spike LR launchers (option for 100 more), 2,360 missiles for Spanish army, 24 Spike LR launchers/240 missiles for Spanish marines. Spike ER on Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters (Spanish army).[14]
23x15px Turkey
LR launchers on Otokar Cobra vehicles.

Comparable systems



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External links


es:Misil Spike fr:Spike (missile) ko:스파이크 대전차미사일 it:Spike (missile) he:ספייק nl:Spike (raket) ja:スパイク (ミサイル) pl:Spike (pocisk) ru:Spike (ПТРК)

  1. Parsch, Andreas (19 May 2007). "NAWC/DRS Spike". Designation-Systems.Net. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  2. "US Navy Spike Missile System: A New Generation of Miniature Precision Guided Weapons" (PDF). Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC). Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "A multitude of launchers - for a multitude of use". EuroSpike GmbH. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Defense Update issue 2-07 (May - June 2007) : Electro-Optically Guided Weapons". Defense-Update.Com. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  5. "EuroSpike GmbH". EuroSpike GmbH. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  6. "SPIKE Medium Range (MR) - "Fire & Forget" for visible targets". EuroSpike GmbH. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  7. "SPIKE Long Range (LR) - "Fire & Forget" or "Fire Observe & Update" for different targets". EuroSpike GmbH. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Rafael Co. marketing brochure
  9. "SPIKE Extended Range (ER) - a longer range of "Fire & Forget" or "Fire Observe & Update"". EuroSpike GmbH. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Advanced Spike Missile Unveiled" (Press release). Israel Defense Forces' official website. 25 November 2009. http://dover.idf.il/IDF/English/News/Tech/09/default/3001.htm. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  11. Trimble, Stephen. "Rafael unveils new long-range Spike missile". Flight International. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  12. "Israel Unveils New Precision Weapon Systems for the Ground Forces". Defense-Update.Com. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  13. "Mini-Spike Anti-Personnel Guided Weapon". Defense-Update.Com. 2 September 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 14.9 "The Military Balance 2010". International Institute for Strategic Studies, 03 February 2010.
  15. (Spanish) "Ecuadorean Army OrBat" (Press release). Ecuadorean Army. 30 November 2009. http://www.ejercitodelecuador.mil.ec/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1479&Itemid=1. Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  16. "EuroSpike launcher — Ground — Vehicle Operation". EuroSpike GmbH. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 
  17. (Spanish) "The Formation of Anti-tank hunters (transliteration)". PeruDefensa.Com. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2010.