The US Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) has recently demonstrated the capability of the Spike missile at China Lake in California, US.

The Spike missile successfully destroyed an Outlaw unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a single shot during the demonstrations, which took place in December last year.

Spike team members also tested the effectiveness of the missile’s proximity fuses on two Outlaw UAVs.

The inclusion of the fuse reportedly allows the missile to either make contact with a chosen target or detonate in close proximity.

Spike project manager Gavin Swanson said: “The team worked really hard to get us to the point where everything was smooth.

“Come test day, there wasn’t anything in our way.”

The NAWCWD’s Spike missile programme aims at using in-house developments and warfighter input to make improvements to the missile, with a view to adapting the weapon for sailors and marines to address rising UAV concerns.

Swanson added: "I noted how the team really believed in being able to hand a soldier a light-weight, fire-and-forget capability.

“We've had a notion for years that UAVs would be a problem and I think we're well-placed to have an imminent solution to that threat."

The Spike missile programme previously conducted a counter-UAV live fire exercise in 2013 as part of a collaboration with the US Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) .

The exercise saw the Spike launcher installed on a radar-queued gimbal, which maintained the target in the missile’s field of view while the Spike operator acquired, tracked and engaged the target.

Image: The impact of a Spike missile on an Outlaw unmanned aerial vehicle during a Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division demonstration in December 2016. Photo: courtesy of Naval Air Systems Command / US Navy.