US Army Apache Helicopters Receiving Spike Missiles

The US Army has moved one step closer to the addition of the Rafael Spike Non-Line of Sight (NLOS) missile to the array of armaments able to be employed by the Apache attack helicopter.

In testing at the Army Dugway proving grounds in early December Lockheed Martin successfully fired eight Spike missiles over a period of five days from the AD-64 V6 platform. The Spike is to fill the Army requirements for Long Range Precision Munitions Directed Requirement (LRDN DR). According to Lockheed Martin’s Tom Bargnesi, program senior manager for the Precision Strike Team, these tests will lead to Airworthiness Release (AWR) of the Spike to start equipping the Apache fleet. Testing included engagement of multiple, different targets in various mission scenarios.

Spike NLOS was developed by Rafael as a fire-and-forget anti-armour and anti-personnel long range missile. It uses a fire, observe, update, and attack technique which allows the gunner to seek and even switch targets after launch. This is accomplished by providing him a fiber-optic link to the missile in flight which displays the image viewed by the missile’s nose-mounted gimballed seeker/tracking imager. It offers “man-in-the-loop engagement capability. The Spike has a tandem multi-purpose shaped charge warhead with blast-fragmentation effect. It can engage stationary or moving targets at up to 32 kilometers range. It is currently fielded by over thirty-six militaries.

The US Army first announced its consideration of the Spike in 2020 and demonstrated a firing in 2022. The completion of AWR allows the missile to move to full qualification. It expects to begin training on the system in mid-2024 and to have fielded the Spike capability to all eighteen Apache AH-64E Model V6 aircraft by September 2024.

by Stephen W. MIller