'GPS insensitive': Why Israel's new Rafael defence system can be a gamechanger

Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense System says the SPICE family of stand-off, autonomous, air-to-surface weapon systems enables precision, high-volume strikes in GPS-denied areas.

Adversaries jamming missiles

Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has created a mechanism which would allow manned and unmanned vehicles namely UAVs to operate in areas where GPS environment would be unavailable. It will help the military assets namely Iron Dome, SPYDER air defence systems, Spice munitions and Python missiles to be move in areas where there is a likelihood of adversaries jamming the missiles.

According to the company, "Laser-guided bombs (LBGs) do not meet today’s most critical needs, since they are released at short ranges, thereby increasing strike force vulnerability to enemy fire. GPS-guided weapons also have their disadvantages, with some delivering stand-off capability, but without immunity to GPS countermeasures."

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GPS-denied areas

Rafael says the solution is to provide "advanced EO/IR technologies allow the targeting, acquisition, and autonomous tracking of moving targets, and a scene-matching algorithm enables fully autonomous, GPS-independent missions with midflight path adjustment and minimum collateral damage."

The company says the SPICE Family of stand-off, autonomous, air-to-surface weapon systems enables precision, high-volume strikes in GPS-denied areas. SPICE is in use by the Israeli and other Air Forces worldwide.

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SPICE autonomously homes in on target

GPS-independence enables "autonomous, multiple, precision, high-volume attacks from the safety of significantly extended stand-off ranges," the company says.

SPICE(Smart Precise Impact and Cost Effective)  warheads allow success in GPS-jammed areas ensuring autonomous standoff capability capable of "day, night, and adverse weather" operation.

"Mission planning on the ground uses target's imagery, hit angle and azimuth and fuses delay to generate a mission," it says.

Hundreds of mission are stored on a weapon's cartridge which is then loaded onto a weapon prior to take off. After successful completion of scene-match in, SPICE autonomously homes in on the target, it says.

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100 SPICE bombs for India

The weapon is "insensitive" to GPS jamming and is widely used by the Israeli Air Force. Last year, India had signed a deal with Israel worth around Rs 300 crore under emergency provisions for buying over 100 SPICE bombs with high explosives warhead for the Indian Air Force after the Balakot strikes.

Spice-2000 bombs were used by IAF's Mirage-2000 fighter jets in the airstrikes on Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp at Balakot in Pakistan.

During the strikes, the penetrator version of Spice-2000 bombs was used by the IAF which made holes in the concrete rooftops of the buildings in the Jaish camp but did not destroy the buildings. The bombs, however, exploded inside the building killing those who were present inside the building.

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IAF uses Israel's SPICE bombs

India officials had revealed after the air strikes on Balakot in Pakistan that Israeli-made "smart bomb" was used to strike JeM targets on February 26th. The missiles were called Spice 2000. 

The Israeli "Spice bomb" was pre-fed with the GPS coordinates on JeM terror camps in Balakot. The bombs are precision-guided, one that can automatically match the target and destroy it. 

In fact, during the Kargil war in 1999, Israel was the first country to extend military assistance to India, Tel Aviv had supplied the Indian troops with ammunition and mortar.

The strikes were undertaken days after 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed in a terror attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14.

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India and Israel have step defence engagement

In fact, during the Kargil war in 1999, Israel was the first country to extend military assistance to India, Tel Aviv had supplied the Indian troops with ammunition and mortar.

Similar help was extended during the 1971 Indo-Pak war as well. 

India and Israel have stepped up their defence engagement in recent years with troops from both sides participating in joint military drills together.

Several experts often make the case for India to follow the Israeli template since Tel Aviv is known for its muscular foreign policy against adversaries. 

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SPICE missiles in Su-30MKI combat aircraft

After its success at Balakot, India has decided to integrate the SPICE missile in its Su-30MKI combat aircraft. India and Israel have already traded in Drones in the past two years. In fact, the Indian government has already purchased 10 Heron TP drones from Israel. 

However, the Heron TP drone is not specifically recognised as an "armed drone". The IAI Eitan also known as Heron TP was brought by India two years ago.

(Photograph:ANI)

India requests six MQ-9 drones from US

According to reports, India has placed an order for 30 Reaper drones for its forces at the cost of $3 billion to the national exchequer.

Reports say India has also requested for six MQ-9 drones from the US at the cost of $600 million.

A report earlier in the year had stated that India had listed 22 MQ-9 Reaper (Predator B) drones as a requirement for its forces. Now, with the volatile situation along the LAC, Indian defence authorities view the drones as a "gamechanger".
 

(Photograph:AFP)

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