EXACTOR is Spike NLOS, described by Rafael as;
EXACTOR-2 is currently in service with the Royal Artillery.
EXACTOR has a shadowy past but given the passage of time, wide reporting and formal recognition in the House of Lords and British Army website, it is probably safe to cover it.
The EXACTOR missile system has an interesting background and demonstrates just how difficult it is to keep secrets in a modern interconnected society. Rumours first surfaced with the release of a video on LiveLeak that showed one being used to destroy a Taleban IED team.
The BBC broadcast a documentary called The Bomb Squad that had brief commentary on the system being used from Camp Bastion and there were some snippets released in official reports, the first one I think was the MoD Annual Accounts 2010-2011 about pinch point trades of all things, reporting a shortfall of 1 person against an establishment of 24 for EXACTOR.[adrotate group=”1″]
Janes postulated that it was, in fact, the Spike NLOS (Non-Line of Sight), Spike NLOS was formerly called the Tamuz missile and has been in service with the IDF for several years, since 1981 in fact, although obviously in earlier versions. In addition to the basics of operational security, the origin of Spike NLOS would have been of obvious concern.
The 2010 Royal Artillery Briefing Guide described how 39 Regiment Royal Artillery were re-organising to provide an integrated precision fires capability comprising a Brigade HQ Targeting Cell, GMLRS troop and two EXACTOR troops.
In 2011 Angus Robertson tabled a Parliamentary Question;
There was also some information released in 2010 on L and N Battery Association website
Not a great deal of information emerged after that, apart the M113 vehicles that were used originally causing several issues and one or two LiveLeak videos that had some interesting snippets of night firings that look very much like those of Spike NLOS/Tamuz on YouTube.
In 2014, there was an official acknowledgement in a House of Lords question;
The requirement for EXACTOR was defined as an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) for use in Iraq in 2007 in the counter indirect fire role. The only system available within the time required was the Israeli missile system called Spike-NLOS (Tamuz). The Israeli government allowed the UK to lease/purchase fourteen systems direct from IDF war stocks. By August 2007, it was in service with 1 Royal Horse Artillery in Basra.
Two versions of the missile were obtained, the Mk2 with a daylight camera, and Mk4 with a thermal imaging system for night operations. The images below (in Israeli service) show the original Mk2 variant, with swept wings.[tabs] [tab title=”Mk 2″]
Despite having measurable success, early operational use highlighted a number of deficiencies, the Mk2 missile was difficult to control, the M113 vehicles extremely unreliable, not well suited to the heat and display resolution much lower than contemporary equipment. As operations in Iraq wound down and the operating environment in Afghanistan deteriorated a similar capability was needed. The system was transferred to Afghanistan.
In 2010, recognising an opportunity when they see one, Rafael offered the UK an improved version, the Mk5. With development funding from the UK, the Mk5 entered service with the British Army as EXACTOR 2 and was displayed at defence shows in 2010/2011. Various changes in the new build missile system and a new trailer to replace the M113’s were included in the Mk2 package.
Spike NLOS Mk5/EXACTOR 2 has also entered service with the Republic of Korea in the ground launched and helicopter launched role.
The Rafael Spike NLOS Mk5 is a non-line of sight missile with a dual-mode electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) camera seeker. With an effective range of between 25 and 30 km, it weighs 71kg in its canister and the real-time data link enables the operator to guide the weapon, confirm target identity and abort if necessary.
The Mk5 missile has straight wings that pop out after launch, shown here in South Korean service.
Targets can be acquired post launch and use a data link guided onto the target from the launch post, or other location with suitable equipment. By having that all essential ‘man in the loop’ guidance system many of the complex and challenging Rules of Engagement (ROE) constraints can be addressed, reducing response time considerably.
The use of a radio data link also enables initial targeting information to be passed by off-board systems such as other ground units, UAV’s, helicopters or other aircraft and then the operator basically picks up from that point and flies the missile onto the target. The missile flies to a waypoint and the operator guides it for the final 3km. Separating the launch point from the initial gatherer of targeting information is a significant advantage.
The South Koreans purchased the system following the attacks against Yeongpyeong Island in 2010 and are likely to use them in the counter-battery role. Rafael has integrated SPIKE-NLOS with a variety of ground, sea and air platforms, confirming and amplifying the systems versatility, a lesson the UK could well learn.
South Korea uses a four missile arrangement on a Ford F550 vehicle, the SPARC trailer also houses four missiles on a 360-degree rotating assembly that can be operated up to 500m away as a semi-mobile base defence system.
The SPARC trailer configuration has also been shown in models and illustrations on a lightweight all-terrain vehicle like the Polaris MRZR[tabs] [tab title=”SPARC Mk2 Trailer”]
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[/tab] [tab title=”RoK Video 1″]
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In 2014, Israel acknowledged the existence of the Pereh armoured carrier for the Tamuz missile that used surplus main battle tanks fitted with a specially designed turret. Each Pereh vehicle has a crew of four (driver, commander and two gunners) and twelve missiles. The turret is fitted with a dummy gun barrel to disguise the special nature of the vehicle.[tabs] [tab title=”Pereh Image 1″]
Agusta Westland have integrated the SPIKE-NLOS on the Wildcat helicopter for the Republic of Korea.