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10:48 AM, March 9, 2017
Israel's Rafael Test-Fires Spike Missiles Using Protector USV
Israel's Rafael Test-Fires Spike Missiles Using Protector USV

Israel’s Rafael has test-fired Spike missile system from Protector Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV).

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, a Rafael spokesperson was quoted as saying by Jane's Wednesday. . 

The spokesperson said that all of the engagements were successful and included firing on-the-move. During the trials Protector operated in seas with waves of up to 1.5 m in height. 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, 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.

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.

The Protector unmanned surface vehicle (USV) was developed by the Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in response to emerging terrorist threats against maritime assets such as the USS Cole bombing, and is the first operational combat USV in service. It is fitted with a Mini Typhoon Weapon Station.

Spike is an Israeli fourth generation man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile and anti-personnel missile with a tandem-charge HEAT warhead, developed and designed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. As of 2016, some 25,600 missiles of the Spike family have been sold to 25 nations.

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