The US Army Requirements Oversight Council (AROC) has approved the acquisition of an undisclosed number of Rafael Advanced Defence System Spike NLOS (non-line-of-sight) air-to-surface missiles (ASMs) to equip the service’s AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters with a stand-off ASM capability for multi-domain operations (MDO).
Spike NLOS is a multipurpose, multi-platform precision guided missile system equipped with a dual-mode electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) seeker and a real-time encrypted radio frequency (RF) two-way datalink. With a stated maximum range of 30 km, the missile can be equipped with three warhead options: tandem high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT), penetrating blast fragmentation (PBF), and fragmentation.
The AROC decision follows a series of tests by US Army combat helicopter personnel in 2019 to evaluate the suitability of the missile for MDO: an evolving joint force concept intended to address the challenge of how to ‘militarily compete, penetrate, disintegrate, and exploit’ adversarial layered stand-off capabilities.
In July 2019 US Army personnel conducted a series of four of Spike NLOS tests in the Negev desert from an Israel Defense Force (IDF) AH-64D platform. In August 2019 the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Cross-Functional Team (CFT) hosted a firing demonstration at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, to determine if the Spike NLOS could be operated from US combat helicopters. During that demonstration five Spike NLOS missiles were fired from a Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopter.
Conducted in response to an army validated operational needs statements, the demonstration was designed to identify “capabilities supporting the Future Vertical Lift [FVL] ecosystem”, the Army FVL CFT said in a statement to Jane’s.. “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,”
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