IDF Largest SPIKE Missile Customer, But Europe a Fertile Ground for Orders

by Larry Dickerson, Missile Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

The SPIKE anti-armor weapon is one of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems‘ most successful missiles. Over 30,000 missiles are on order from 32 customers.

The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is the largest single customer for the SPIKE, providing a steady flow of production contracts – a flow stronger than once thought possible. Still, exports are playing an important role in maintaining production.

Europe is proving fertile ground for SPIKE orders. Rafael has won contracts for the SPIKE from Finland, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Germany. Latvia is a recent addition to this list, along with Croatia and Estonia.

Altogether, Rafael could deliver more than 8,000 missiles to European customers if contracts appear as anticipated. This success is due in part to the disarray within Europe’s own anti-armor missile design programs, as well as reluctance by certain continental powers to procure U.S.-built weapons. Opportunities exist for further sales.

Asia – especially India – holds considerable potential for sales of Israeli missiles. The Indian Army has long sought to procure thousands of missiles and launchers to revitalize its anti-armor capability. Although New Delhi approved the procurement of the SPIKE in 2014, a final decision on the missile is slipping again. Rafael and Bharat Dynamics could provide the Indian Army with as many as 30,000 missiles, but there is still no guarantee of reaching this goal.

Other countries will place new orders for the SPIKE, in part motivated by growing threats in numerous regions. Altogether, domestic and foreign orders will help keep the SPIKE in production throughout the 10-year period of 2019-2028.

Meanwhile, in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Poland is spending more on its armed forces. Warsaw also wants to meet more of its defense needs from domestic sources. Mesko is working on the Pirat, a short-range missile for use by dismounted infantry and perhaps unmanned air vehicles. Poland aims to have this missile in service soon, but it does face foreign competition to meet this need. There is no guarantee that the Pirat will meet Poland’s need, and the current schedule could slip again.

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