18:31 GMT03 April 2020
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    Following successful tests, the US Army has decided to use the Israeli Spike missile on its attack helicopters until a domestic replacement can be produced.

    The Spike Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) missile, made by Israel-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, will be temporarily appearing in US rotary wing arsenals, following a recent decision by an Army Requirements Oversight Council. 

    Brig. Gen. Wally Rugen, who heads the Army’s Vertical Lift Modernization team, made the announcement on Wednesday, Defense News reported. Rugen did not say how many Spike NLOS missiles would be procured.

    The Army tested the Spike several times last year at its Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona as well as in Israel, Sputnik reported, settling on the weapon due to its range and maneuvering capabilities.

    Spike missile
    Spike missile

    Rafael has made several versions of the Spike, allowing it to be deployed from land, air or sea against a wide range of targets. While India has elected to use an anti-tank version of the Spike guided by a fiber-optic cable, the US Army has adopted the NLOS, a larger, long-range version that uses a radio data link for guidance and is capable of hitting targets up to 16 miles away.

    Once deployed on the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, the NLOS will extend the helicopter’s range by several miles. Present air-to-ground missiles small enough to fit on the Apache, like the AGM-114 Hellfire, have a maximum range of just six miles. 

    The Hellfire is due to be replaced by the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM), a new development that will also replace the AGM-65 Maverick and BGM-71 TOW missiles for helicopters, but even the JAGM only has a five-mile range.

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    Tags:
    Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM), air-to-surface, Missile, spike, US Army, AH-64 Apache
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