It has a range of 5,500 meters and its mission is to destroy armored vehicles

Spike LR2: this is the new missile with artificial intelligence that the Spanish Army has purchased

The Spanish Armed Forces will have new Spike LR2 anti-tank missiles, a purchase that was already known last year and confirmed yesterday.

The new Spanish VCR Dragón shows its missile with artificial intelligence to destroy tanks
The complete sequence of the launch of a Spike LR missile by Spanish legionnaires

The Council of Ministers authorized yesterday the contract for the supply of 168 Spike LR2 anti-tank missile systems, for an amount of 285 million euros. The Spike LR2 is the new variant manufactured by the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of the Spike LR1 or LR-Dual missile. The Spanish Army uses two variants of this missile: the Spike LR1, with a range of 4,000 meters and is portable, and the Spike ER, with a range of 8,000 meters and used in the Eurocopter EC-665 Tiger attack helicopters.

The Spike LR2 with its case (Photo: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems).

The Army has 236 launchers of the LR1 model, and since 2009 it has received more than 2,300 missiles of this type. The Spike LR1 is an infrared guided missile. The missile weighs 14 kg and the launcher (consisting of a tripod, a battery and an integrated Launch Control Unit, iCLU) weighs about 30 kg. The missiles used by the Army were manufactured in Spain by Santa Bárbara Sistemas and Tecnobit, so they have software in Spanish.

The launch of a Spike LR2 missile from a Guardian 30 turret on a VCR Dragon armored vehicle (Image: Escribano Mechanical and Engineering).

The purchase of the new Spike LR2 version includes 1,680 missiles in addition to the 168 launchers. This new variant of the Spike, intended to replace the already old American TOW anti-tank missiles in the Spanish Army, considerably improves the performance of its predecessor. The Spike LR2 has a range of 5,500 meters and allows you to obtain 30% more penetration into the armor of your targets. In addition, the LR2 has a target tracker with artificial intelligence functions, so it can keep the target locked despite inclement weather.

The impact of a Spike LR2 missile on an M-60 tank (Photo: Escribano Mechanical and Engineering).

Like the Spike LR1, the Spike LR2 has a tandem HEAT (high explosive) warhead, formed by a precursor charge, whose purpose is to destroy the reactive armor plates currently used by all types of vehicles battleships, and a primary charge that penetrates the target to destroy it. The weight of the missile has been reduced from 14 kg for the LR1 to 12.7 kg for the LR2, facilitating its portable nature. In addition, the Spike LR2 includes a counteractive protection system (CAPS), which allows it to bypass modern active protection systems that include the most modern armored vehicles to nullify these missiles.

Here you can see a video from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems showing the different uses of the Spike LR2 and its capabilities:

As we already saw here, the Spike LR2 will equip 40 of the Guardian 30 turrets of the Infantry Fighting Vehicle version of the Dragon VCR, the new vehicles armored vehicles on wheels of the Army. Here you can see the video of the launch test of a Spike LR2 from one of those turrets, in a video released in June 2022 by the Spanish manufacturer of the Guardian 30, Escribano Mechanical and Engineering:


Main photo: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

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