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Defense & Security 2023: Thailand, Rafael partner on Spike missiles

The Spike NLOS missile has a range of 25 km. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

Thailand's Defence Technology Institute (DTI) has entered an agreement with Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to collaborate on producing the Spike family of lightweight multi-purpose electro-optical guided missile systems in the Southeast Asian country.

DTI and Rafael officials told Janes at the Defense & Security 2023 show in Bangkok on 7 November that the agreement, which was signed earlier in 2023, is initially focused on facilitating technology transfers to DTI and exploring local component manufacturing.

Under the agreement, two versions of Spike missiles could be produced in Thailand. These comprise the Spike Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) and Spike Extended Range (ER) weapons.

β€œIf collaboration under the first phase is successful we would look to a second phase, in which we plan to expand technology transfers and production,” a DTI official said. However, he also stressed that such collaboration is also dependent on purchase contracts from the Royal Thai Armed Forces.

Should contracts be secured, DTI and Rafael plan to form a joint venture in Thailand through which larger-scale production could take place in collaboration with local industry, said the Rafael representative.

Rafael's Spike missiles have been developed for battlefield anti-tank use by infantry, light armoured vehicles, and tanks. The Spike NLOS and ER versions have been further developed for deployment at sea in a surface-to-surface role.

The Spike NLOS is a long-range (25 km) missile and the Spike ER is a smaller, shorter-range (8 km) multi-purpose missile.

Collaboration between DTI and Rafael is likely linked to the Israeli company's previous deal, announced in 2020, to supply the Royal Thai Army (RTA) with an undisclosed number of Spike medium-range (MR) anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and launchers.

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