Israeli Defense manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems today announced AEROSPIKE, its latest advanced air-to-surface Stand-Off Precision Guided Missile (SOPGM) for fixed-wing fighter aircraft and bombers. It has a stand-off range of 30 km and is independent of the notorious U.S. GPS system, which is made unavailable when most needed in a conflict.
The company says that AEROSPIKE presents an advanced tactical Close Air Support (CAS) solution that keeps the aircraft and pilot out of harm’s way. As seen in the Russian Ukrainian war, the airspace is saturated with portable air defense threats – like MANPADs – that require CAS elements to operate with greater precision and longer ranges. Such operations have cost Russia a lot of fighter aircraft.
As per the company, the AEROSPIKE EO/IR SOPGM system is designed to meet the requirements of complex modern warfare. The lightweight, high precision missile has a Circular Error Probability (CEP) of less than 3 ft,
AEROSPIKE is mated with RAFAEL’s SPIKE LR2 precision-guided missile technologies, including its dual high-resolution EO/IR seeker, supported by advanced scene-matching technology and detection and tracking capabilities.
Spike LR2 is Rafale’s multi-platform, multi-purpose guided missile implemented on the principle of “shot and forget”, re-aiming in flight, hitting hidden targets out of sight by targeting from other sources and the ability to launch targets at their coordinates. The most advanced version of the LR-2 is currently used by Israel, Slovakia, Estonia and Australia, and the missiles are manufactured by the Israeli subsidiary Rafael, Eurospike, which is headquartered in Germany.
AEROSPIKE’s real-time data link enables seamless man-in-the-loop operation and more lethality with a combination of HEAT (antitank) and blast fragmentation warheads.
AEROSPIKE’s precision, immunity, and lethality are presented by the company as a powerful Close Air Support (CAS) option for call-for-fire, counter-terrorism missions, and as a counter A2/AD in full-intensity conflict. AEROSPIKE is specially designed for fixed-wing airborne platforms and allows the engagement of both moving and static targets in the daytime and nighttime conditions and in adverse weather.
AEROSPIKE’s real-time RF data-link enables mid-flight target handover of target, re-targeting and aborting capabilities while it is also controlling the approach angle, azimuth and missile flight trajectory.
AEROSPIKE has a simplified operating, says the company, that results in a low aircrew workload. Its 30 km engagement range makes the weapon useful for air-to-surface missions against the latest layered Air Defense Artillery (ADA) networks, mobile Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) sites, armoured vehicles, and urban infrastructure.
The AEROSPIKE system enables Israel to compete with the AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), especially the AGM-154B with six BLU-108B/B canisters, built by the U.S. military contractor Raytheon in the export markets.
Alon Shlomi, Rafael’s Vice president and Director of RAFAEL’s Air-to-Surface Directorate, said AEROSPIKE could provide SOCOM [ U.S. Special Operations Command] AOW [Armed Overwatch] squadrons and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), an advanced tactical CAS solution.
AEROSPIKE was unveiled at the 2022 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC), an event that provides Special forces to interact with the industry.