The SPICE 1000 air-to-ground weapon has received the Israel Defense Prize, manufacturer Rafael has announced. The company describes the weapon as being designed to attack targets “with pinpoint accuracy and at high attack volumes, without depending on GPS navigation in GPS-denied environments”.
The prize was awarded at a ceremony attended by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Benjamin Netanyahu and Chief of Staff Lt Gen Aviv Kochavi. The Israel Defense Prize recognises projects and operations that “contributed to the security of Israel and to its qualitative military edge and technological superiority”.
Other recipients included personnel and contractors involved in the campaign to expose Hezbollah tunnels in the north, the Mossad operation in an Iranian nuclear archive, and a technological development project of the Israel Security Agency (ISA). Rafael has received the Israel Defense Prize prize 52 times, also being recognised for its work on the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Trophy and Popeye systems, among others.
SPICE 1000 is part of a wider Rafael portfolio of air-to-surface SPICE weapons (250, 1000, 2000). All are standoff, autonomous, air-to-ground weapon systems. SPICE has been used in combat by the Israeli Air Force and is in operational service with a number of international users. The weapon was reportedly employed by Indian Air Force Mirage 2000s during air raids on February 26 in response to a militant attack in Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops. According to the official Pakistani account, however, “six to eight Indian aircraft were effectively intercepted by PAF jets and forced to scuttle back while randomly releasing their ordnance”.
Reflecting on the award, President Rivlin said: “The role of the defence establishment and the civilian industries that accompany it is to be the invisible defensive wall that pushes conflict behind enemy lines, and allow us citizens to continue to go about our daily lives. This is the reason we invest so heavily in creative and ground-breaking technological development. I want to thank you and your families for the exhausting and dedicated work, and for the endless effort you have invested and continue to invest.”
Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Netanyahu added: “We will always defend ourselves. And our true force is in the minds and hearts that are present here. You, the winners of the Israel Defense Prize, have made a fundamental contribution to our defense and deterrence. You have all done an excellent job. Go forth and succeed in ensuring the eternity of our nation.”