Naval Weapons

Rafael launches Spike missiles from Protector USV

08 March 2017
Representative naval targets were engaged during the trials. Source: Rafael

Rafael has conducted live firing trials of its Spike missile system from the Protector unmanned surface vessel (USV).

A Rafael spokesperson told Jane's that the trials, which took place off the coast of Israel, involved multiple launches of an undisclosed variant of the missile against what were described as targets possessing a range of naval characteristics.

The spokesperson said that all of the engagements were successful and included firing on-the-move, adding that during the trials Protector operated in seas with waves of up to 1.5 m in height, and that the company believes the armed platform will be capable of using the Spike system in up to Sea State 5.

The launcher unit integrated on to the USV is based on Rafael's Mini Typhoon stabilised gun mount and what was described by the representative as a "proven Spike naval launcher", according to the representative. Analysis of imagery released of the trials appears to show the Typhoon MLS-ER unit mounted on the rear of the USV. This system includes up to four Spike Extended Range (ER) missiles, an electro-optical director, and a fire control system.

Development of the new capability commenced around two years ago following analysis of operational requirements and has now completed, the spokesperson said.

While trials with potential customers are lined up, the spokesperson was unable to disclose who these are.

Protector is a multimission platform that has a modular design and is able to accommodate a range of payloads, including, among others, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems; a stabilised mount for machine guns; water cannon; mine countermeasures equipment; and electronic warfare packages.

The system can be configured as a 9 m- or 11 m-long platform and features an endurance of up to 48 hours, and a top speed of 40 kt.

The Spike ER missile offers a range of up to 8 km and offers multiple operating modes, including fire-and-forget and the ability to steer the missile following launch.

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