Air-Launched Weapons

US Army set to fire Spike NLOS missiles from AH-64E Apache

08 August 2019

The US Army will host a demonstration in August where it will fire Rafael Spike Non-Line-of-Sight missiles from a Boeing AH-64E Apache aircraft. A Version 6 helicopter is seen here conducting operational trials at Fort Hood. Source: US Army

In its quest to arm future aircraft, the US Army is hosting a demonstration to determine if it can fire Rafael Spike Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) missiles from US helicopters.

The service is slated to conduct experiments at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, later this month as a response to army validated operational needs statements and help identify "capabilities supporting the Future Vertical Lift [FVL] ecosystem", according to the FVL Cross Functional Team (CFT). As part of the upcoming demonstration, the army will use a Boeing AH-64E Apache aircraft to conduct the Spike NLOS demo.

"The demo will determine whether Spike can be fired from a US aircraft and inform future munition and air-launched effects requirements for multi-domain operations," the service wrote in a 2 August email to Jane's .

FVL is part of the army's effort to modernise its weapons portfolio. Although there are five potential helicopter sizes under FVL, the service is currently focused on two - a Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) to fill the gap left by the retirement of the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior fleet and a Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) designed to replace the UH-60 Black Hawk fleet.

As the army prepares to fight in an anti-access/area denial environment, FVL CFT director Brigadier General Walter Rugen told Jane's that the FARA is designed to "open a corridor of opportunity", in part with its ability to team up with unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and be "deeply interoperable" with Long-Range Precision Fires and Next Generation Combat Vehicles, so that the various weapons systems and platforms are "fighting as a team".

"When we talk about the lethality we need on a future battlefield, the FARA is going to be our synchroniser, our close combat co-ordinator," Brig Gen Rugen said in January.

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