Spanish army to get Rafael Spike LR2 anti-tank missiles with tandem HEAT warhead

According to Bulgarian Military and Infodefensa, the Spanish Ministry of Defense has published data on its Spike Phase II anti-tank missile program. It will purchase 1,680 Spike LR2 missiles and 168 firing stations to replace its Tow missile and modernize the army’s anti-tank defenses.
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Israeli company Rafael displayed the latest generation of Spike missiles at DEFEA 2021 in Greece. (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The program is already in an advanced stage, awaiting the funding needed for its official launch. Both the Spanish Army (including the Army aviation) and Marine Corps have been using the Spike LR missile for 15 years. The program seeks to promote interoperability and reduce system lifecycle costs through the ability to exchange components with the Spike LR system currently in use. Similarly, it intends to generate potential synergies and economies of scale that will provide an advantage in terms of inventory and coordinated support for the Spike family.

Spike-LR II (or LR2) as a reduced weight to 12.7 kg (28 lb), an increased range of 5.5 km (3.4 mi) at ground level and 10 km (6.2 mi) from helicopters using an RF data-link, warhead options of tandem HEAT with 30% increased armor penetration, or a multipurpose blast warhead with selectable impact or penetration detonation fusing, a new seeker that includes an uncooled IR sensor with a smart target tracker with artificial intelligence features, the ability to fire on-grid target coordinates using an inertial measurement unit for third party-target allocation, and is compatible with legacy launchers. The missile is designed with a counter-active protection system (CAPS) capability, being able to hit targets at higher impact angles of up to 70 degrees.

To increase lethality, the missile includes two unique configurations of advanced high-capacity warheads. Tandem warhead HEAT, which improves the penetration of armor by more than 30%, and a new multifunctional explosive warhead, which includes controlled explosion by the shooter to achieve the desired effect. By choosing the deceleration mode, the new warhead can pierce up to 20 cm of reinforced concrete and detonate inside the structure, causing deadly damage to structural targets, vehicles, and ships. Immediate detonation in open terrain causes a peripheral explosion/fragmentation effect. This unique multi-purpose warhead is designed to surpass most targets at the moment on the battlefield, the defense emphasizes.

According to Infodefensa, the Spanish intention is to acquire the Spike LR2 system on the national market. To do this, the main contractor Pap Tecnos must present an industrial plan that maintains and improves the strategic industrial capabilities of the participating defense through a plan to transfer production to the technologist – Israeli manufacturer Rafael. Pap Tecnos has already given Spike LR2 support courses to the Spanish Armed Forces and announced in Madrid last November that it has been in contact with Spanish companies such as Tecnobit and Expal and others in the industrial fabric supply chain for a future program.