NAWCWD proves Spike proximity fuzing against UAV targets

03 February 2017
A NAWCWD Spike missile destroys an Outlaw target in December 2016 testing. Source: NAVAIR

Key Points

  • NAWCWD has integrated proximity fuze technology into its home-grown Spike miniature missile system
  • Two Outlaw UAVs were destroyed in testing at China Lake in December 2016

The US Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) has tested its in-house developed Spike miniature missile system with proximity fuze technology provided by the US Army.

Two separate single-shot tests at the China Lake weapons range in California in late 2016 both resulted in the destruction of Outlaw unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) targets.

Spike was conceived by NAWCWD as an affordable, low collateral fire-and-forget miniature missile designed to counter low-cost asymmetric threats. It is designed for launch from either air or ground (including shoulder-firing); several Spike missiles could also be loaded on a single mount to engage multiple targets.

NAWCWD's Spike project team had in 2013 worked with the US Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) on a counter-UAV live fire exercise. In this test, the Spike launcher was mounted onto a radar-queued gimbal, which maintained the target in the missile's field of view while the Spike operator acquired, tracked and engaged the target.

Following the 2013 demonstration, ARDEC requested the NAWCWD Spike team's participation in a transport convoy protection line of defence using a similar gimbal system.

"The Army provided a proximity fuze for integration into the missile and the incorporation of that fuze enabled the Spike missile to either contact or proximity fuze on a target," said NAWCWD in a statement. "In December [2016], the Spike team demonstrated the effectiveness of those fuzes on two Outlaw UAVs."

According to NAWCWD, project engineers are continuing "to make improvements to their fire control suite, processes for safer assembly as well as algorithm updates for better endgame performance". Work is also progressing on replacement verification tests that are cheaper, faster but equally as effective as earlier test methods.

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