The Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw), Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and InService Support, ordered 1,500 Spike missiles and hundreds of Integrated Control Launch Unit (ICLU) dismounted missile launchers from Eurospike for the German Army in early November, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems announced in a press release earlier.
Eurospike is a joint venture formed by Rafael and German companies Diehl Defence and Rheinmetall Electronics to produce the Spike, which the Bundeswehr calls the Mehrrollenfähige Leichte Lenkflugkörpersystem (Multirolecapable Light Anti-tank Missile System, MELLS). Rafael said the missiles and launchers would be produced in Germany, in line with the company’s global policy of teaming with domestic industry.
The order is the first under a framework contract with Eurospike allowing the Bundeswehr to continue to order more Spike missiles over the next few years, Rafael added.
The BAAINBw published the framework contract online on the EU’s Tenders Electronic Daily on 6 November for up to 11,500 MELLS missiles and 214 ICLUs, plus transport and storage containers. The minimum order foreseen by the BAAINBw is for 1,500 missiles and 132 ICLUs. Neither the BAAINBw nor Rafael published the contract value. The BAAINBw previously ordered 2,500 MELLS missiles and 103 launchers.
MELLS is already in service with the German Army, both dismounted and installed in the Marder infantry fighting vehicle (IFV); in its replacement, the Puma; and in Wiesel armoured vehicles.
MELLS was declared operational with Marder IFVs of the German Army’s Panzerlehrbrigade (Armour Demonstration Brigade) 9 in Munster, northern Germany, in April 2018. The brigade is leading the NATO Response Force’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2019.
MELLS is being installed in Puma IFVs of Panzergrenadier-brigade (Armour Infantry Brigade) 37, which will lead the VJTF in 2023. The VJTF and NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups in the Baltic states, of which the one in Lithuania is led by Germany, face a major Russian armour threat.
Credits: Nicholas Fiorenza, London, further edited for reproduction at SCF by Mark Frank.