Rafael unveils Firefly loitering weapon system

05 June 2018

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has disclosed details of the development of a new variant in its Spike family of precision engagement weapon systems: the Spike Firefly loitering munition (LM).

“Firefly is a man-portable day/night situational awareness/lethality system specifically intended to deliver organic fire support for light manoeuvring ground forces/Special Forces fighting in the tactical urban environment, where situational awareness is limited, the enemy is behind cover, and stand-off precision engagement is critical,” Gal Papier, Marketing Manager, Precision Tactical Weapons Systems at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems told Jane’s .Full-scale development of the Firefly loitering weapon system is scheduled for completion by mid-2019 (Rafael Advanced Defense Systems)Full-scale development of the Firefly loitering weapon system is scheduled for completion by mid-2019 (Rafael Advanced Defense Systems)

Equipped with a 350 g high lethality blast fragmentation warhead, Firefly leverages many of the technologies of the Spike missile development, including: dual seeker (uncooled infrared/day and proximity sensors); electro-optical guidance with a man-in-the-loop override; target tracker for agile targets; safe and arm fuzing mechanisms homing algorithms; computer vision and human–machine interface. “All of these technologies are widely implemented in the Spike family of missiles and serve as the basis for the development and tailoring of the Firefly weapon system to its unique urban combat mission profile,” said Papier.

Manufactured from composites, Firefly’s (80×80×400 mm) airframe features retracting rotor blades (with an unfolded span of around 60 cm) which, when not in use, fold along the body of the munition allowing the weapon to fit into a ruggedised canister. The munition is powered by twin electric motors with two co-axially-mounted counter-rotating rotor blades, delivering a loitering duration of 15 minutes at a maximum altitude of around 60 m to stand-off ranges of 1500 m in open terrain, and 500 m in urban terrain. According to Rafael, the system operates effectively in windspeed conditions of up to 23 mph.

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