Country of origin
700 mm behind ERA
~ 950 mm
~ 110 mm
Total weight with launcher
HEAT or HEDP
Spike SR is an Israeli-produced compact and
man-portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) system. Though it
represents the smaller end of the spectrum of the Spike series, the
Spike SR is actually one of the most recent additions, first being
publicly unveiled in 2012. According to the manufacturer, the Spike
SR is 2.5 times lighter than the average ATGM in its class. It is exceptionally light for an anti-tank guided weapon.
As the SR in its name implies, this weapon is primarily meant
for use in short-range engagements of 1 km or less; a common combat
environment, but one also normally ill-suited to ATGMs. It is based
on the design of preceding Spike-series missiles. Developing a
smaller missile for shorter-range combat would seem
counter-intuitive, but extensive combat in closed terrain such as
canyons and cities has shed light on the need for such a weapon. Not
only does a smaller ATGM have greater agility in these environments,
but given that smaller missiles of a given type tend to be cheaper
as well, it gives them a greater degree of expendability (e.g., US
forces in Iraq were sometimes reluctant to use missiles like the
Javelin, due to its relative cost and scarcity).
While the exact origins and developmental of the Spike SR
have never been published, it is almost certain that its design
formula was heavily influenced by fighting throughout the Middle
East during the 2000s. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) themselves
received quite a bloody nose on the receiving end of modern and
compact ATGMs (notably the
during Operation Cast Lead in 2008, and these weapons made quite an
impression. It is likely not a coincidence that development of the
the Spike SR was completed within the following 4 years.
Despite the publicity the Spike SR has received, many
relatively simple attributes of the missile have never been
publicized. For instance, no pages on the internet seem to indicate
the missile's length, diameter, nor the weight of its warhead. Not
even Rafael's own Spike SR page has to date featured this
information. However, presentations displaying them alongside other
Spike missiles suggest that it is basically a shortened version of
the Spike LR2. This would suggest that the Spike SR has the same
warhead and 110 mm diameter as the Spike LR2.
The Spike SR
is a short missile, with a cylindrical body and a nearly flat
dome-like nose. The folding fins are rectangular and very narrow,
with the aft fins being longer with curved tips; these are recessed
into the fuselage, and spring-out as the missile is launched. The
fins are each in a 90-degree crucifix pattern, with the forward fins
being set 90 degrees off-angle from the aft fins. The cluster of
small sensor windows on the nose includes one large lens and
surrounded by a semi-circle of smaller lenses, lending a "paw print"
like shape. Early images of the Spike SR depict a large glass-like
lens covering the entire nose, a feature which appears to have been
ultimately left on the cutting room floor.
There are two different Command & Launch Unit (CLU) designs
that have been demonstrated for the Spike SR, with the earlier
design seemingly having been abandoned during development, prior to
the first operational use of this missile.
The early design had a cylindrical tube that was very
shallowly bulged-out in the middle. Very long shock absorbers were
installed on the muzzle and venturi, with long, lengthwise
rectangular lobes. The carrying handle at the top center was a
simple strap, with a trapezoid-shaped foam rubber shoulderpad on the
underside. The optical sight was located on the lower right side,
with a prominent red button (probably the trigger) located on a
panel above it. Sling swivels for an adjustable nylon sling are
located on the left side of the launcher, at the base of each shock
absorber. This launcher no longer appears in contemporary
promotional material for the Spike SR, nor is the type of launcher
currently in use.
The current launcher has a completely straight cylindrical
tube, with shorter, cropped, conical shock absorbers on the muzzle
and venturi, similar to those seen on the
AT4. The new optical sight
is located on the lower-left side, atop a swept-back padded mount. A
shallow L-shaped foam rubber shoulderpad is located on the underside
at the middle of the weapon, and a foregrip located across from the
sight includes the trigger group. The carrying strap and nylon
swivel appear to have been retained, and the muzzle includes a
polymer cap which is attached to the front shock absorber by a short
The composition of the
Spike SR has not been published,
though the fuselage and fins of the missile are visibly metallic,
while the launch tube is made of reinforced fiberglass with foam rubber
The Spike SR employs an infrared (IR) homing guidance system,
which locks-onto the heat emitted by the target. This is a "fire-and-forget" guidance method, which is completely passive; this not only
enables the user to immediately change targets or take cover, but
also gives no warning to the target apart from the launch signature
and airborne projectile. This is also normally an expensive guidance
system to use in an ATGM, but Rafael significantly reduced the cost
of the missile by using cheaper "off the shelf" optics and
Infrared guidance is not infallible, however. Countermeasures
such as flares or dazzlers can mislead or blind the missile, though
these are relatively uncommon on military ground vehicles.
One particularly interesting aspect of the guidance system is
that the seeker head functions as an imaging infrared camera when
the missile is armed in the launcher, creating a direct video feed
to the sights. In effect, the user sees exactly what the missile
sees, greatly reducing the possibility of launching the missile with
an inadequate fix on the target, or at an unintended target. This
innovation also eliminates the need for a separate thermal imaging
sight on the launcher, and as this technology is said to be much
cheaper than the seeker heads normally used on ATGMs, it
significantly reduces the cost of both the missile and the launcher.
The Spike SR is propelled by a solid fuel rocket motor,
though little else has been published concerning its propulsion. If
the exterior of the Spike SR is any indication, its motor is
probably a shorter version of those used in the other Spike family
Two types of warheads are employed in the Spike SR; a tandem
shaped charge (HEAT), and a High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) munition referred to as a "Penetration-Blast-Fragmentation"
The tandem charge warhead features a precursor charge that
defeats Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA), allowing the main warhead to
achieve its full penetration of 700 mm rolled homogeneous
armor steel equivalent.
The PBF warhead is basically a type of HEDP munition. It is derived from the munition used in the
MATADOR rocket launcher (which is also produced by Rafael). It has
less armor penetration than the HEAT warhead used in the standard
Spike SR, but has a tremendously improved wall-breaching capability,
and exceptionally lethal blast and fragmentation effects inside
small structures behind said walls.
The exceptionally minimal size,
weight, and unit cost of the Spike SR allows for smaller formations
to use it, than would normally be able to gave an organic ATGM
capability; i.e., instead of a small number of dedicated ATGM teams
with maybe three launchers at the company level, the Spike SR would
be issued to one of the soldiers in each platoon, or potentially
even one per squad. It could potentially even be issued as widely as
a rocket launcher, though the Spike SR is still much more expensive
than most of these.
Though it was slow to gain acceptance compared to the other
missiles in the Spike family, the Spike SR was ultimately adopted by
the IDF in 2016, then more recently by the Singaporean Defense
Forces in 2017. Israel and Singapore are the only operational users
of the Spike SR to date.
The unit cost of the Spike SR has not been published, but is
believed to be approximately $75 000. By comparison, a single
example of the competing Raytheon FGM-148 Javelin has a unit cost in
excess of $174 000.
As of late 2019, the Spike SR is still being manufactured and
marketed by Rafael.
Type 01 LMAT: The Kawasaki Type 01 LMAT is the closest IR-homing,
man-portable ATGM system to the Spike SR in terms of size, but its
weight and range are both still substantially greater. Possibly the
most expensive missile of this type, the Type 01 LMAT is used only
by the Japan Self-Defense Forces.
HJ-12: Introduced into the People's Liberation Army in 2014, the
NORINCO HJ-12 is another IR-homing man-portable ATGM in the same
vein as the US Javelin. Though with almost the same size, range, and
overall performance as the Javelin, the HJ-12 is a whole class above
the Spike SR.
This joint Anglo-Swedish ATGM is very close in
size and range to the Spike SR, but is even cheaper, and employs a
simpler inertial guidance system.
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