The United States Army announced that it will purchase the Israeli Spike Non-Line-Of-Sight missile (NLOS) for its fleet of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters (and possibly for its MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial platforms) as an interim solution for a missile with greater standoff capabilities. Built by Raphael Advanced Defense Systems, the Spike NLOS has a range of 25 kilometers, which is more than double than that of the American Hellfire missile.
The missile, which features an advanced tandem warhead design is capable of penetrating reactive armor as well as the latest variants of composite armor. The “Non-Line-Of-Sight” is a reference to the Spike’s “over the horizon” capabilities, which enables the missile to engage an enemy target through indirect, standoff positions. This feature, along with the Spike’s range makes the pilot much less vulnerable to air defense systems, including anti-aircraft missiles and anti-aircraft artillery.
The Spike NLOS can be guided via a laser designator or real-time wireless data link. The operator can also abort the mission after launch or change targets. This is an important feature that enables the operator to limit collateral damage should civilians suddenly appear or alternatively, to direct the missile toward a more valuable or dangerous target. The dynamic and fluid nature of the modern battlefield makes this feature invaluable. The Hellfire does not have this capability.
Israel produces a wide variety of Spike missiles with different ranges for different combat situations. Some variants are light-weight and can be shoulder fired while other variants are heavier and can be launched from combat ships and areal platforms. Variants of Israel’s Spike are in service with 31 militaries worldwide but there is no better advertisement for the Spike than getting the U.S. Army’s imprimatur.
The genesis of the pairing of the Spike NLOS to the AH-64 Apache began in the summer of 2014 during Operation Protective Edge. Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists were firing hundreds of rockets at Israel and trying to infiltrate Israel through a network tunnels originating from Gaza. Islamic terrorists fired their rockets from hospitals and UNRWA schools to shield themselves from retaliatory strikes. In so doing, Hamas and Islamic Jihad committed double war crimes.
Israel meticulously limited collateral damage by utilizing precision weapons. Among the precision weapons employed by Israel was the Hellfire. Israel’s Hellfire attrition rate was high and so the Israelis turned to the Pentagon and military-to-military channels to resupply their depleted Hellfire stocks. The Pentagon obliged but once Barack Obama caught wind of what was going on, he suspended the transfer of missiles. This was part of the Obama administration’s orchestrated plot to undermine Israel in time of war and exert maximum pressure on the Jewish State to accept a cease fire agreement, with terms dictated by Hamas, Turkey and Qatar.
In addition to the suspension of Hellfire missile deliveries, Obama ordered the State Department to issue a travel advisory against Israel. The following day, his Federal Aviation Administration issued a directive prohibiting U.S. carriers from flying to or from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport after a single desultory rocket launched by Hamas fell harmlessly about a mile south of the airport. These insidious directives were collectively designed to inflict economic harm on Israel and hamper its military efforts.
Obama’s nefarious scheming failed to convince a resolute Benjamin Netanyahu, who pressed the counter-insurgency offensive until Hamas cried uncle. But following the campaign, appropriate lessons were drawn. Israel understood that it could not rely on the illogical whims of an unreliable president and decided that it would find a replacement for the Hellfire. Israeli defense officials approached Raphael and asked the company to mate the Spike NLOS to the Apache platform. Raphael obliged and soon after, Israeli Apaches were photographed equipped with the Spike’s NLOS variant.
Necessity is the mother of all invention. Israel’s genocidal enemies have compelled the Jewish State to be smart and resourceful. Forbes Magazine recently credited Israel with producing three of the most influential weapon systems of the past decade — the Stuxnet cyber warfare virus (jointly produced with the U.S.) the Iron Dome anti-rocket system and the Trophy Active Protection System, which is currently deployed on U.S. M1-A2 tanks as well as Israeli Merkava IV tanks.
Obama was certainly no friend of Israel’s, but Israel has Obama’s monstrous betrayal to thank for the successful integration of the Spike NLOS to the AH-64 Apache platform.