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For the 16th time, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) brought together the members of the Spike Users Club (SUCM) – this time in Slovenia. The Spike anti-tank missile system manufactured by Rafael is used by armed forces in 31 countries (including 18 EU and NATO members). NSPA supports the NATO countries (as far as they are members of the weapon system partnership) with regard to procurement, life cycle management and maintenance of missile systems.

The Spike Users Club was founded in June 2003 by the Spike user nations and has developed into a forum for nations to exchange knowledge and experience. This includes aspects of maintenance, firing in training and in theatre, as well as tactical expertise collected during missions.

Objectives include the maintenance of interoperability of nations based on the similar technology of the missile and the launcher. This will enable joint procurement stocks to be used across national borders through mutual support in supply.

The conference of the Spike User Club traditionally ends with an industry day where European companies present and demonstrate products and solutions around Spike. From Germany, Eurospike and Rheinmetall were present, among others, with the MELLS variant (Multi-Roll Light Missile System) used by the German Armed Forces.

The Slovenian Army demonstrated Spike in a sharp shot. For this purpose, the Oshkosh JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle) was equipped with the Samson Mini MLS remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS), which contains a Spike launcher. This was the first time a Spike missile was fired from a  JLTV. A second Spike missile was fired by the Slovenian soldiers from a portable launcher that had been positioned in a room. The two missiles were guided by a combined daylight/IR finder and hit their targets as expected.

Moreover, Firefly was demonstrated, a miniature spike variant that can be “parked” between 500 and 1,500 m above the target for up to 15 minutes. The three-kg munition can reach targets behind obstacles/covers, especially in built-up areas.

Slovenia is currently introducing new infantry units in battalion size. This will include an anti-tank platoon equipped with JLTV, the core of which will have an integrated RCWS.

Gerhard Heiming