Lockheed Martin and RAFAEL have signed a cooperation agreement to jointly develop, manufacture, market and support RAFAEL’s Smart, Precise Impact and Cost-Effective (SPICE) missile guidance kits to Lockheed Martin’s platforms. RAFAEL already subcontracts about 80 percent of SPICE subassemblies to US manufacturers. The agreement will enable Israel to buy SPICE kits from the USA, using US military support funds. The agreement follows a market assessment evaluation done by the two partners in the past year.
SPICE kits are compatible with Lockheed Martin F-16, and, following full integration, will also equip Israel’s Air and Space Force’ F-35A. Once concluded, the SPICE will also be available to other F-35 operators. SPICE has also been integrated with the Saab Gripen E, and has already been selected to equip the new Brazilian Gripen NG fighters. RAFAEL also develops the SPICE 250 unitary guided munitions. The bigger SPICEs are designed as guidance kits added to standard bombs. The current agreement does not mention the SPICE 250.
SPICE is a family of stand-off, autonomous, air-to-surface weapon systems, capable of destroying targets with pinpoint accuracy and at high attack volumes in a GPS-denied environment. Combat-proven and in service with the Israeli Air Force and several international customers, SPICE employs a state-of-the-art electro-optical seeker with unique scene-matching algorithms, navigation guidance and homing techniques to achieve operational missions in adverse weather without GPS. The MOU covers the SPICE 1000 (453 kilogram / 1,000 pound weight class) and SPICE 2000 (907 kilogram / 2,000 pound weight class) precision-guided missile kit variants. The SPICE extends the aircraft strike range to 100 km, thus enabling attack from standoff range.
The cooperation agreement follows the partnership RAFAEL and Lockheed Martin established for the international marketing of The POPEYE EO guided missile back in the 1990s. Known as HAVE NAP (AGM-142) POPEYE was fielded by B-52 of the US Strategic Air Command, as well as F-4, Jaguar and F-111 of the Australian, South Korean, Turkish and Indian Air Forces.
“SPICE is a leading air-to-surface weapon system offering U.S. and international air forces operating Lockheed Martin’s platforms, as well as strategic bomber aircraft, an important complement to their existing operational capabilities,” Yuval Miller, Executive Vice President, Head of Rafael’s Air & C4ISR Division. “SPICE’s unique features greatly enhance the U.S.’ ability to operate in contested environments.”
Lockheed Martin is a prime contractor for laser-guided weapons widely used by airforces worldwide. SPICE adds an alternative guidance technique, strike autonomy, and independence of GPS, extending the air forces’ operational flexibility planning and performing attack missions with modern combat aircraft.