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Rafael SPIKE Firefly

Miniature Tactical Loitering Munition / Drone

Israel | 2020

"Part of the Rafael SPIKE missile family, the Firefly is a loitering munition option developed for the Warfighter operating in the urban environment."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Rafael SPIKE Firefly Miniature Tactical Loitering Munition / Drone.
1 x Electric motor (battery powered) driving 2 x Twin-bladed propeller units in co-axial arrangement.
43 mph
70 kph | 38 kts
Max Speed
492 ft
150 m | 0 miles
Service Ceiling
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Rafael SPIKE Firefly Miniature Tactical Loitering Munition / Drone.
4.3 ft
1.31 m
O/A Length
4 lb
(2 kg)
Empty Weight
7 lb
(3 kg)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Rafael SPIKE Firefly Miniature Tactical Loitering Munition / Drone .
Fragmentation warhead.
Notable series variants as part of the Rafael SPIKE Firefly family line.
SPIKE Firefly - Base Series Name.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/22/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

The SPIKE "Firefly" is a disposable, transportable unmanned miniature loitering munition developed and marketed by Raphael of Israel. The system is a Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLoS) over-battlefield solution intended for close-support in urban environments where the enemy can typically be found under cover. The Firefly sports such key qualities as portability, reliability, and durability and is part of the Rafael SPIKE Precision Guided Missile (PGM) family of weapons that includes the SPIKE "LR.2" long-range Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM), SPIKE "NLOS" Non-Line-of-Sight ATGM, SPIKE "ER.2" extended-range ATGM, and SPIKE "SR" infantry-level shoulder-launched ATGM.

Beyond its inherent ground attack function, the Firefly Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) can also be used in the tactical reconnaissance role, enhancing situational awareness at the warfighter level.

The SPIKE system's success is such that it is in use with some thirty-nine operators worldwide and includes Special Forces elements.

The system requires just a single operator and control is through a handheld, rugged tablet-style Control Unit (CU) weighing 2.2lb. Up to three Firefly systems make up part of the complete Firefly kit with a secure datalink providing the CU with direct connection to the UASs. The UAS component weighs in at a manageable 6.6lb which, when coupled to its inherent maneuverability and low operating noise, makes it an ideal close-support anti-infantry weapon. With its duel Electro-Optical (EO), IR, and Color CMOS support, the unit can be operated in both day and night time environments against both stationary and moving targets.

Historically, embedded enemy troops were forced out of position through direct assault or flanking maneuvers by counterparts on the other side. With loitering munition options like the Firefly, casualties are reduced or prevented altogether as the munition goes to work from above.

The Firefly's general arrangement is rather unorthodox, comprised of three segments - upper, lower, and optics set. A pair of twin-bladed propellers are seated at the nose and at midships (in a torque-defeating co-axial arrangement) providing both lift and propulsion. The blades are designed to fold when the unit is stored to reduce its footprint for transport. The whole unit fits inside of a hardened sleeve and can be carried over the infantryman's back. Propulsion power is all-electric and comprised of a removable / replaceable battery pack which provides endurance for a relatively short window of 15 minutes (30 minutes if the warhead is unequipped and replaced with a second battery pack). The optics set is positioned at the tail-end of the aircraft offering unfettered, 360-degree views of the terrain below. Three simple, extending support legs provide traditional undercarriage facilities for the UAS when at rest and are part of the launch and safe return / call-off function. The unit can be flown manually via video / tablet or autonomously through waypoint control.

The proximity-based detonation component of the loitering munition features an integrated dual seeker and target tracker. The payload is of general explosive fragmentation and is completely removable.

Operating range of the Firefly is listed to 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) in open terrain and reduced by half to 1,640 feet (500 meters) in urban environments. It can fly against 22 mile-per-hour wind gusts, cruises at 37 miles-per-hour, and reaches nearly 45 mph during its diving attack run.

Content ©MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

May 2022 - The United States has expressed interest in the SPIKE Firefly loitering munition.

Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Rafael SPIKE Firefly. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 500 Units

Contractor(s): Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd - Israel
National flag of Israel

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Image of the Rafael SPIKE Firefly
Image from official Rafael Advanced Defense Systems marketing materials.

Going Further...
The Rafael SPIKE Firefly Miniature Tactical Loitering Munition / Drone appears in the following collections:
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