Israel-based Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, the manufacturer of SPICE Precision guided bombs, had unveiled a new member of the air-to-surface munition family, with the addition of an integrated turbojet engine at the Aero India exhibition in Bengaluru, earlier this year and was offered to the Indian air force (IAF).
The new variant dubbed SPICE 250 ER (Extended Range) that incorporates a miniature turbojet engine with an internal JP-8/10 fuel system, providing the weapon a range of at least 150 km, while retaining the same mission-planning system, aircraft interfaces, and aircrew operation. SPICE 250 ER also now comes with autonomous electro-optic Scene-Matching Artificial Intelligence (AI) Algorithms that use advanced AI and deep-learning technologies to specific target characteristics ahead of the strike. Each SPICE 250 ER can home-in on the pre-defined target, either autonomously or with a human-in-the-loop, aided by the ATR algorithm.
idrw.org has been told that the Indian air force (IAF) is interested in the weapons system and asked for more information from Rafael Systems, which also includes the demonstration of the SPICE 250 ER sometime in near future. Rafael is pitching SPICE 250 ER for IAF’s existing fighter fleet that includes Mirage-2000, Su-30MKI, and LCA-Tejas.
India’s HAL also is working with a Private defense start-up for the development of a subsonic cruise missile that can drop miniature warhead and return to the base, but it won’t be ready for trials for the next 3-4 years and might take another 3 years before it is cleared for production, that creates a window for IAF to procure some units of SPICE 250 ER to act as a cheaper option to the more expensive SCALP long-range sub-sonic cruise missile that is pretty much exclusive only to the IAF’s Rafale fighter fleet.