Germany Plans to Use Israel's Spike Missile to Take on Enemy Tanks

Charlie Gao

Key point: The Israel spike missile is very powerful and has been purchased by other countries around the world.

Germany is one of the biggest customers for the Israeli Spike missile. Germany fields the Spike Lr missile under the name Mehrrollenfähiges Leichte Lenkflugkörpersystem, or MELLS, as the primary anti-tank armament of their infantry fighting vehicles. These missiles have practically taken over the role of the French/German MILAN anti-tank missile, which are being retired.

But what new capabilities does it bring to the table? How is MELLS more versatile than the earlier MILAN missile?

Germany first bought the Spike-LR in 2015, replacing the MILAN missile in the role of an infantry-portable tripod mounted anti-tank missile. The system as procured had nearly double the range of the earlier wire-guided MILAN. It also added a fire-and-forget mode of firing the missile, while still giving the operator control of the missile in the fire-and-observe mode. The live missile “feed” from the MELLS seeker makes tracking and hitting targets at range easier than the MILAN.

The MELLS was also slated for integration in Germany’s next generation Puma infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). The level of integration surpasses the level to which the MILAN was integrated with the earlier Marder 1 IFV. With the Marder 1, a vehicle crewman has to stick their torso out of the turret to look use the Milan firing post, which is attached to the vehicle itself.

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