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Spike missile being launched
US Navy image via www.uasvision.com

The United States Navy has successfully tested a small missile called a Spike miniature against targets representing “Outlaw” UAVs. The tests were carried out at the China Lake facility in California in December of 2016, according to an article on the UASVision website.

The small missile was fired on two occasions at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake. In the tests, a fixed-wing UAV (which would, in nearly all cases, fly much faster than a quadcopter) was flown on the site. The Spike miniature, which was mounted in a radar-tracking gimbal, acquired and tracked the target with the assistance of an operator.

US Navy image via www.uasvision.com
US Navy image via www.uasvision.com

This isn’t the first time the Spike team has been in action. According to the article, a team has been testing this technology since at least 2013. What was new in this test was that what’s called a “proximity fuse” provided by the army was integrated into the missile. That type of fuse enables the Spike to detonate when it’s close to the target and does not require a direct hit.

There were two tests, each using separate detonation methods. On one occasion the proximity fuse was used, while on the second an actual direct contact with the UAV occurred. You can see from this Navy photo the clear outline of a formerly fixed-wing craft that is about to fall to the ground in zillion pieces.

US Navy image via www.uasvision.com
US Navy image via www.uasvision.com

According to the UASVision article, “…Spike is under development by a small team of engineers at China Lake, seeking to provide a cost-effective weapon that could counter emerging threats with capabilities that other weapons cannot.”

Interestingly, that doesn’t necessarily mean Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. One of the potential uses of the Spike miniature is against small boats – or groups of such boats.

“One such area is the increasing threat of small boat swarms often referred to as the fast attack craft (FAC) and fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) threat. One strategy the enemy employs is to use multiple FACs/FIACs to go after a target. The Spike could be a good gap-filler in a layered defense against this tactic. Spike has recorded direct hits against moving FIAC threats in separate test events…”

Jonathon Pooley is a Spike technician. US Navy photo via UASVision.com
Jonathon Pooley is a Spike technician. US Navy photo via UASVision.com

Spike is just over two feet long and weighs 5.5 pounds. And, apparently, very accurate.

 

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