Apache Helicopter Fires Two Spike NLOS Missiles, Will Start Using Them From 2024

Apache helicopter fires Spike NLOS LRPM DR missile during tests 6 photos
Photo: Lockheed Martin
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Back in the mid-1980s, the American military started using an insanely powerful and weird-in-design weapons platform called the Apache. An attack helicopter by trade, the AH-64, as it is officially known, has taken part in all of America’s wars since, successfully helping ground troops by providing firepower from above in hot zones. And that firepower is about to get even more impressive following a recent weapons test.
The heavier punch comes as something called the Spike Non-Line-of-Sight Long Range Precision Munitions Directed Requirement (LRPM DR). That’s quite the mouthful, so we’ll call it the Spike NLOS from now on.

Spike is a rocket-motor-powered missile that guides itself to the target by means of electro-optical and infrared hardware. The seeker and wireless datalink systems it comes equipped with also allow soldiers to change the thing’s direction while en route to its target, making it both unpredictable and unavoidable.

Non-line-of-sight in this particular case means it can be fired from 32 km (20 miles) away from the target, which in turn means the ones at the receiving end wouldn’t even know what platform it was released from.

Last we’ve heard of this piece of equipment was in May last year, when defense contractor Oshkosh announced Spike’s integration with its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) family of vehicles.

This week, Spike’s maker, Lockheed Martin, announced the conclusion of a successful live fire test of the Spike NLOS from the newest version of the Apache helicopter, the V6.

Apache helicopter
Photo: Lockheed Martin
The test took place in the last days of January at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona and involved an Apache firing not one, but two Spikes at targets in two different (and undisclosed) scenarios. The targets for this exercise were stationary, and all seems to have gone according to plan, proving the weapon could be integrated with the newest version of the attack helicopter, and opening the doors for qualification testing.

"The successful integration of Spike NLOS on the Apache platform demonstrates Lockheed Martin's continued commitment to 21st-century security solutions that help our customers complete their missions,” said in a statement Tom Bargnesi, program management senior manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

“The system’s expansion onto additional platforms, along with its mission-focused defense capabilities, ensures it will help the U.S. Army stay ahead of ready in an ever-evolving threat environment.”

Qualification testing will allow the weapon to be fielded by Apaches for future wars, and the V6 variant of the helicopter, used by the U.S. Army, should be equipped with these missiles from September 2024.

The Spike is the latest weapon in an already tremendous arsenal the Apache can carry and which includes Hellfire missiles, 2.75-inch rockets, and 30 mm chain gun rounds.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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