Due to the relatively short (albeit deep) history of tank warfare, the Israeli army is at the forefront of related developments aimed at defeating opposition armor. This resulted in systems like Raphael "Spike" being adopted and passed on to interested allies around the globe.
Spike began development in 1987 and officially debuted in 1997, and has since been used with the Israel Defense Forces in the Second Intifada (2000-2005), the 2006 Lebanon War (2006), and operations around the Gaza Strip (2008-2009). Deployed at the forefront. Allies have used this type in the ongoing war in Afghanistan, which began with the U.S.-led invasion of Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-present).
As of this writing (2013), the production of the Spike system is still ongoing and handled by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Diehl BGT Defense (the latter as part of Rheinmetall Defense Electronics). The Diehl/Rheinmetall connection enables Israel to market the weapon to a wider world audience (eg "EuroSpike") through European channels.
The Spike system can be operated via a traditional tripod mount or as a vehicle-mounted weapon (ground-launched or launched from a helicopter platform). The launch tube is reusable and can launch 170mm rocket rockets.
Spike is comparable to other modern tank battlefield systems such as the American FGM-148 "Javelin". It features a fire-and-forget missile design, initially routed through integrated fiber optic cables. The missile is launched using a solid-fuel rocket, while the primary guidance system is infrared homing, passive or dual seekers, depending on the missile type.
The included sight allows 10x magnification, and some missile versions have a maximum range of 25,000 meters. A well-trained crew can get the launcher ready to fire in as little as 30 seconds, while reloading takes 15 seconds.
In response to the increasing use of Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) blocks on modern combat vehicles, including main battle tanks, the Spike missile relies on a tandem-charge HEAT (High Explosive, Anti-Tank) warhead to detonate by impact-proven effectiveness. This allows ERA protection to be removed before the main warhead charge reacts to the vehicle's base armor protection - improving penetration.
The Spike system consists of five key components - launcher, tripod (if equipped), power pack, thermal sighting device, and missile. The launch vehicle is called the command and launch unit (CLU) and accounts for a large percentage of the combat weight.
The available weight and capabilities of the missile will vary, and therefore will vary, based on customer requirements and field performance.
The system is available in four basic versions, including short-range, medium-range, long-range and extended-range. The Spike-SR is a short-range version that allows firing from buildings while using a weight-saving design for improved maneuverability. The maximum attack range is 800 meters. The Spike MR is a mid-range offering (2,500 meters) and can be considered a standard Spike model.
The Spike-LR is the long-range variant, up to 4,000 meters. The Spike-ER is an extended range model that allows attacking targets at a range of 8,000 meters.
Spike is available in two other notable forms - NLOS ("Non Line-Of-Sight") spikes for very extreme range and not relying on line-of-sight (or crew exposure) limitations, and "mini-spikes", which serve as Sale of a lighter and more compact anti-personnel weapon.
Spikes have been adopted by the armed forces of Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, etc. Including India, The weapon has also been assessed by a handful of interested countries, including Thailand and Turkey.
August 2018 - The Philippine Navy successfully tested the ATGM Rafael Spike from a mobile patrol boat 6 km away - with reported accurate results.
1,670 mm (65.75 in)
1,670 mm (65.75 in)
Autoboot; reusable launcher
2 rounds per minute
10,000 ft (3,048 m; 3,333 yd)
Spike-SR - short range variant; 800m range
Spike-MR - mid-range variant; 2,500m range
Spike-LR - long range variant; 4,000m range
Spike-ER - Extended range variant; 8,000m range
Spike NLOS - A non-line-of-sight variant for very long distances.
Mini-Spike - Portable compact anti-personnel form