The Spanish Armed Forces have important Israeli weapons systems

The government of Spain risks a key capacity of its Army with its attacks on Israel

The Spanish Army is developing an important renewal program known as Ejército 2035 (Army 2035).

Spike LR2: this is the new missile with artificial intelligence that the Spanish Army has purchased
Military programs that may be affected by the crisis between Spain and Israel

This program is recently being nourished by the experience of the war in Ukraine, a war conflict in which portable anti-tank weapons have acquired enormous importance, to the point of being able to thwart the Russian offensive on kyiv and having brought the invaders to a situation in which any advance with armored forces suffers very high losses, due to the high number of portable anti-tank systems received by Ukraine.

The official magazine of the Spanish Army, in its number 989, corresponding to the months of March and April 2024, includes an article signed by the Plans Division of the Defense Staff, which highlights "the first observations of the Ukrainian war, among them the evidence that high-intensity warfare should remain the first priority of an Army committed to national defense." This article also reviews the role that the different brigades of the Spanish Army will have in the aforementioned program.

On page 15 of the magazine the following is indicated: "The new acquisitions of SPIKE systems will complete the anti-tank capability of the brigades". As we already saw here, in October of last year the Spanish government authorized a contract for the supply of 168 Spike LR2 anti-tank missile systems, manufactured by the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. Spain already uses two previous 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 on EC-665 Tiger attack helicopters.

The Spike LR2 missile has a range of 5,500 meters, improving armor penetration capacity by 30% compared to the LR1. One of the most notable advantages of the LR2 is that it has a target tracker with artificial intelligence functions, which can fix the target despite inclement weather. This weapons system is of great importance for the Army, since the only alternative system available in its arsenals is the American BGM-71 TOW 2A, older, wire-guided and heavier, for what has to be mounted on vehicles.

In addition to the Spike missiles mounted on VAMTAC tactical vehicles and M-113 armored vehicles, the Army will have these missiles on 40 of the 348 new VCR Dragon armored vehicles of the first phase. In the current political situation, one might wonder whether the delivery of these weapons systems could end up in jeopardy. The Spanish government has ministers with positions openly hostile to Israel and who have accused the Jewish State of committing a "genocide", a clearly false accusation and which they have not at no time directed against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine.

For now, Israel is showing great patience with the Spanish government, especially considering that it has been the only one in the European Union that has done something as serious as authorize a march called by a Palestinian terrorist group in Madrid last January, a march to which, in addition, a minister joined in. The same minister who published on Twitter this week an anti-Semitic slogan that defends the disappearance of the State of Israel.

The question to ask is: will there end up being a serious crisis between both countries caused by these extremist positions? Let us remember that Israel does not depend on Spain for the acquisition of its weapons systems, but the Spanish Armed Forces have important weapons systems of Israeli origin. It is worth wondering how far Israel's patience will go and whether the growing tension will end in a rupture, with the consequent loss of capabilities for our Armed Forces.


Photos: Rafael Advanced Defense System / Escribano Mechanical and Engineering.

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