Procurement: January 6, 2004

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Poland and Israel have signed a deal that allows a Polish firm to build the Spike LR ATGM (anti-tank guided missile) system for ten years. Some 2700 launchers, plus missiles, will be built. The contract has a value of $350 million, with Israel getting licensing fees for the use of their missile and manufacturing technology. The Spike is actually a family of anti-tank missiles using a lot of common technology. At the low end, there is the Spike SR, with a range of 800 meters, followed by the Spike MR (also called the Gill) with a range of 2,500 meters, then the 4,000 meter Spike LR and the 8,000 meter Spike-ER. The Spike LR missile, along with the sealed storage/launch canister, weighs 28.6 pounds. The canister is mounted on a 28.6 pound fire control system (22 pounds without the tripod) for aiming and firing. The missile in its canister has a shelf life of twenty years. The Spike uses a fiber-optic cable so that the operator can literally drive the missile to the target, although the missile can also be used in "fire and forget" mode. Israel is apparently flexible on what they charge for the Spike LR, saying only that it's cheaper than the U.S. Javelin (which cost $75,000 each.) Since Poland will be building the Spike LR under license, and as Poland has lower labor costs, they will probably be getting the missiles for less than $40,000 each. It could be cheaper, but some of the electronic components, at least initially, will have to be imported from Israel. In any event, this vastly increases Poland's anti-tank capability, as they are now using several older Soviet anti-tank missiles (which don't age well, and were not all that effective to begin with.)

 


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