Why Israel's Rafael defense system wants IAF to acquire the Spice 250 missiles
Rafael had integrated Spice 250 missiles with Artificial Intelligence(AI) along with automatic target recognition (ATR).
Spice 250 missiles
At this year's Aero India show exhibition held at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru in February 2021, Rafael had unveiled the Spice 250 Extended Range (ER) missile which is the latest variant in the Spice family.
Two years ago, Rafael had integrated Spice 250 missiles with Artificial Intelligence(AI) along with automatic target recognition (ATR).
Rafael now aims to offer the Spice 250 ER variant to the Indian Air Force (IAF) which had used the Spice 2000 bomb during the Balakot strikes in February 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd)
According to the company, the missile is packed simultaneous, precision, standoff strikes against stationary and moving targets making it a lethal weapon in its category.
The state of the art missiles can operate in a GPS denied environment and possesses autonomous standoff capability. It boasts of multiple targets per sortie and can deliver missiles with pinpoint accuracy.
It can also operate in day-night conditions and in adverse weather.
The Spice missile with its air-to-air weapon capability incorporates navigation, homing and guidance navigation with 125kg bomb capable of hitting moving and maritime targets.
According to the company, the system is based on a sophisticated electro-optical seeker and has a set of advanced homing modes during attack which includes Automatic Target Acquisition(ATA), Moving Target Detection(MTD), Automatic Target Recognition(ATR) and Maritime attack modes.
The missile is currently used by the Israeli Air Force and is operated through a single or dual-seater fighter aircraft.
The missiles made by the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has 75 kg warheads with a range of 100 kms with blast fragmentation and penetration capability.
The Spice missile family includes other variants including Spice 1000 and the Spice 2000. The Spice 250 can be directly mounted on a light attack aircraft with deadly results.
It allows tactical flexibility in trajectory and ensures low collateral damage while hitting multiple targets.
Spice 250 missiles
India officials had revealed after the airstrikes on Balakot in Pakistan that Israeli-made Spice 2000 "smart bombs" were used to strike JeM targets on February 26th.
The Israeli "Spice bomb" was pre-fed with GPS coordinates on JeM terror camps in Balakot. The bombs are precision-guided which 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.
Spice-2000 bombs were used by IAF's Mirage-2000 fighter jets during the airstrikes on the 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. The bombs exploded inside the building killing those who were present.
The SPICE 2000 bomb has a standoff range of 60 kilometres and approaches the target with its unique scene-matching algorithm as it compares the electro-optical image received in real-time via the weapon seeker with mission reference data stored in the weapon computer memory and adjusts the flight path accordingly.
Just days after the Pulwama attack, at the Aero India show in Bangalore Israeli defence technology company, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems showcased the new air-to-surface missile known as the “Rocks".
“Equipped with either penetration or blast fragmentation warhead, the missile can destroy above-ground or well-defended underground targets in heavily surface-to-air-defended areas,” the company said in a statement.
Israel and India have had strong defence ties, however, in the past, most of the military assistance was covert.
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.
The Israeli company had said "Rocks" uses GPS and a navigation system to home in on targets using optical systems and “advanced image processing algorithms, which ensures hitting targets with great precision, overcoming GPS jamming or denial.”
The missile also provides ''cutting edge and cost-effective" technology.
At the Aero India show in 2019, Israel also revealed the Mini-Harpy loitering missile, also known as the "kamikaze" or "suicide drone".
The Mini-Harpy "kamikaze" drone is capable of carrying eight-kilogram warhead and explodes on impact. It is a drone-cum-missile which is tailor-made for condictions prevailing at the Line of Control(LoC).