Background and Capabilites:
In early 2007, the UK army issued an “urgent operational requirement” for a weapons system capable of delivering counter-battery fire against insurgent mortar teams harassing British troops in build-up areas of Iraq. The British Army required something that could respond both swiftly and precisely, as to not cause unnecessary collateral damage within the densely populated cities they were operating in, and more importantly, they needed it as soon as possible, meaning they needed an existing system instead of one that required development.
Due to this pressing need, in April of 2007 the Defense Ministry decided in April to buy 12 M-113 armoured personnel carriers fitted with Israel’s Spike-NLOS, in a six-missile launching system from Israel defence contractor Rafael under the name "Exactor MK.1 . In order to expedite the rate of adoption, an additional two were ordered directly from Israeli Defense Force stocks, where they are referred to as the Hafiz in operational service.
Due to the nature of the weapon’s ability to swiftly and accurately eliminate insurgent forces, the British armed forces maintained great secrecy in an attempt to conceal the fact they had come into possession of this weapon system, lest the insurgents become aware of it and adjust their strategies accordingly. Along with the 14 M113 carriers, the British contingent in Iraq was supplied with 700 Spike-NLOS Mk2 and Mk4 missiles from the Israeli army. The M113 and their encumbant missile systems were appreciated, and fulfilled their desired role in Iraq, though they were found to be poorly airconditioned and suffered reliability issues due to a lack of common parts commonality with other British armour then in service, making breakdowns prolonged due to parts having to be ordered in specifically for the M113’s.
In September of 2009, all Exactor MK.1 systems were transferred by military transport aircraft C-130 from Basra to the British contingent in Afghanistan, where they formed part of the MLRS battery of the 39th Regiment of Royal Artillery, located at Forward Base “Edinburgh” in Helmand province, They remained in service here until 2010, when they were replaced by the trailer based Exactor MK.2, armed with the improved Exactor Mk.V Spike missiles.
During operational use, it was found that the delta-winged Mark 2 was difficult to control and was actually too fast to easily hit targets at shorter ranges, resulting it in being disregarded in favour of the slower, straight-winged Mark 4 which was both easier to handle and had an improved thermal camera to see in the dark. Overall though the Exactor MK.1 served beyond expectations, and in 2010 the United Kingdom hired Rafael to produce a further improved Mark 5 missile, which continues to see service in the British military to this day.
- 6-tube Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile Launcher capable of firing the following missiles:
Spike NLOS Mk. 2: Utilizes 4x delta-shaped fins. Max range of 15km. Utilized television seeker and semi-automatic command guidance system, or SALCOS.
Spike NLOS Mk. 4: Utilizes 4x delta-shaped fins. Max range of 30km. Equipped with infrared seeker type IIR and automatic command guidance system.
7.62mm FN MAG Machine Gun mounted
- Engine: 275hp Detroit Diesel 6V53T Diesel Engine
- Transmission: Allison TX-100-1 Automatic Transmission
- Chassis: Torsion Bar
- Max Speed: 66km/h
- Length: 5.3m
- Width: 2.7m
- Height: ~3m
- Weight: ~13t
**Additional capabilities ** :
- Laser Rangefinder
- Optics (need more information on this section):
- Driver: Likely IR Passive.
- Gunner: Likely a Electro-optical thermal imager.
- Commander: Likely a Electro-optical thermal imager.
below are pictures of the Hafiz which is what the same platform is known as in Israeli service, which were identical in specification to the ones sold to the British for service in Iraq
- Spike-NLOS multi-purpose missile system | Missilery.info
- The British Army Secretly Sent Israeli Missiles to Iraq and Afghanistan | by War Is Boring | War Is Boring | Medium
- Exactor (Spike NLOS) - Think Defence
- Israel gave UK rockets from own stockpile | The Jewish Chronicle
- Hafiz Missile Carrier: Death from Afar