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At the end of the Cold War, the Western anti-tank missile market was in the hands of the United States with the TOW from Hughes Aircraft and the arrival of the Hellfire missile from Lokheed-Martin, and from Europe with the HOT and the very effective MILAN infantry developed by Euromissiles. But with the end of the Soviet threat, Americans and Europeans significantly lowered their investments in this area, opening the way to the emergence of other players on the planet. And in this area, the Israeli Rafael unquestionably achieved the largest market share with its range of SPIKE anti-tank missiles. Appeared in the early 80s in a confidential manner to meet the needs of the Israeli armies, the SPIKE was initially a 4th generation missile equipped with an infrared seeker like the American Javelin, and therefore capable of autonomously directing a once launched towards its target, unlike the MILAN, TOW or HOT which still had to be guided to it by an operator.
Today, the SPIKE missile family, which includes more than a dozen variants, has earned the lion's share of Western armies, and is exported to more than thirty armed forces around the world, including more than twenty belonging to NATO, in particular thanks to the creation of the EuroSpike joint venture between Rafael and the Germans Diehl Defense and Rheinmetall Defense Electronic, each of them owning 40% of the group's shares. This choice of Berlin in favor of cooperation with Israel was to the chagrin of France and MBDA who then continued to promote MILAN and HOT in evolved versions but anchored in an earlier generation. The break is now so complete in this area between Paris and Berlin that as part of the Tiger III program, in which Germany had not then confirmed its participation, Berlin announced in 2019 that it wanted to equip its own Tigers with Spike missiles and not the new MHT missile recently designated Akéron from the European MBDA. It is true that technologically speaking, everything opposes these two missiles, the Spike NLOS (No Line of Sight) and its infrared seeker being able to reach targets at 50 km, where the MHT, guided through an optical fiber to keep the notion of man in the loop, only has a range of 8 km.
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