Anti-tank missiles (ATGMs) have been protagonists in recent conflicts, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One of the deadliest anti-tank missiles in the world, the Israeli Spike, has gained great interest for its precision and destructive capabilities.
Origins of the Spike family of missiles
Following the difficulties experienced by Israel during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) searched for a weapon capable of precisely engaging enemy armored vehicles.
This led to the creation of the first Spike missile in the 1970s, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
Adaptations were made to the old M48 MBTs to house the new missile, which gave rise to the Pere “Savage” vehicle. Disguised with dummy guns, these missile-carrying tanks were ideal for engaging enemy vehicles without detection.
Various variants of the Spike missile have been developed over the years, all with improved capabilities and adapted to different combat situations.
Special features of the Spike ATGM missile
The Spike missile carries a fiber optic cable that connects the missile to the launch system and a camera on the weapon itself. This allows the tank crew to maneuver the missile toward the target and change its trajectory mid-flight. The Spike’s missile launcher can also perform precise attacks at long ranges.
The Spike missile has been used successfully in Israel’s combat missions, taking on militants in the Gaza Strip and Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters on the country’s northern border.
Popularity and international demand
Since its introduction, 39 nations have purchased the Spike missile, and more than 30,000 units have been sold. Despite its higher price than its American Javelin competitor, countries around the world continue to purchase this formidable ATGM.
Recently, Croatia and Greece have announced the acquisition of the Spike missile, and the United States has shown interest in its use in Apache helicopters.
Israeli success in the arms industry
The Spike family of missiles has established itself as the most successful indigenous Israeli weapon. With the revival of ATGM use in conflicts like the one in Ukraine, Rafael is expected to deliver many more of his advanced anti-tank missiles in the near future.