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Rafael targets Australian partner for SPIKE missile production

Rheinmetall Boxer CRV negotiating obstacles on the Driver Training Circuit at Puckapunyal.

LAND 400 Phase 2 contender Rheinmetall’s Boxer CRV. (Defence)

Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is close to selecting an SME to partner with in Australia as it promotes the SPIKE LR II multi-purpose missile for the LAND 400 Phase 2 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle.

Rafael started working out of an office in Melbourne near Victoria Barracks two weeks ago, and plans to officially launch its new Australian presence in November.

The company did have an office in Canberra that closed a number of years ago, but it has since identified opportunities that it wants to pursue in the Australian market.

“We do understand that we have to do it hand in hand with local industry,” Moshe Elazar, head of Rafael’s Land & Naval Systems Division, told Australian Defence Business Review.

“We have to bring here significant work, not just manufacturing but we have to bring here development; we have to bring here jobs that involve careers, that involve engineers and scientists. We are seeking partners that will enable us to do an ongoing development of our products.”

The initial focus for Rafael in Australia is the SPIKE LR II precision-guided missile, which is a new-generation version of the SPIKE family that can be fired from vehicles, helicopters, ships and ground-based launchers.

The company intends to establish a facility in Australia that would manufacture, integrate and test the missile.

SPIKE missiles are currently being produced in eight different countries, demonstrating that Rafael has a lot of experience when it comes to technology transfer, Elazar said, speaking in Melbourne on Monday.

Meanwhile, Rafael is also offering remote weapon stations for the Infantry Fighting Vehicle that is set to be acquired under LAND 400 Phase 3.

And for LAND 19 Phase 7B, the company is proposing to pair the AMRAAM with the Tamir interceptor missile, which it produces with Raytheon.