Army tests Rafael-made loitering munition during exercise

By Ethan Sterenfeld / May 13, 2022 at 9:11 AM

Rafael's U.S. subsidiary demonstrated a small loitering munition for the Army at a recent exercise, the company announced this week.

Loitering munitions, which have also been called kamikaze drones, have received more attention in recent weeks after the Pentagon sent Switchblade and Phoenix Ghost systems to Ukraine. Last week, the Army released a sources-source notice for an antitank variant of the Switchblade, which is larger than the anti-personnel variant the service has previously purchased.

Infantry squads trained with Rafael’s loitering munition, the Spike Firefly, for two days at the recent Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment, according to a company press release. Squads also tested the weapon’s utility in urban areas.

“As part of the assessment the operators fired a live inert FIRELFY munition intercepting an enemy sniper position in an upper floor of a structure simulating a scenario in which the whole platoon is under suppressive fire with the need to detect and engage the threat while the force is taking cover,” according to the press release.

Rafael’s loitering munition, the Spike Firefly, weighs 3 kilograms and is designed to locate, surveil and attack targets up to 1,000 meters from the soldiers who control the weapon, according to the company’s website. Firefly can return to the launcher and re-arm itself, which also allows the munition to act as a sensor-carrying drone without any payload.