By Arie Egozi
The Australian Special Forces are evaluating some versions of the Rafael Spike missiles family, for its new helicopter to be selected soon.
Rafael has teamed with Australian company Varley, and formed a joint venture, VRA, intended to manufacture some types of its Spike missiles in Australia.
The Israeli company has offered its line of Spike missiles to all the helicopter manufacturers that are competing in Australia.
Four helicopter manufacturers are competing in Australia – Boeing offers its AH -6 Little Bird, Airbus the H-145, Augusta Westland – Leonardo the AW-109 and Bell the 407.
According to Gal Papier, head of marketing in Rafael’s precision tactical weapons department, the company is in negotiations with the four manufacturers, in order to include the Israeli company’s Spike ER-2, in the upgrade package that will be offered in the Australian competition aimed at selecting a helicopter for the country’s special forces.
The Spike ER-2 has a 16 km operational range when launched from a helicopter. SPIKE ER- 2 has a Non-Line-Of-Sight (NLOS) engagement capabilities.