Israel-Singapore missile JV secures Estonia as launch customer for Blue Spear

Blue Spear - Proteus Advanced Systems
Blue Spear - Proteus Advanced Systems

Proteus Advanced Systems, a joint venture (JV) between Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Singapore’s ST Engineering Land Systems, has secured a contract with the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI) to supply the Estonian Defence Forces with Blue Spear (5G SSM) missile systems.

Following a tender process, ECDI announced on 6 October that it has selected Proteus Advanced Systems to enhance Estonian coastal defence capabilities with land-based Blue Spear missile systems. According to ECDI, the project will be the most complex Estonian defence procurement effort to date and will be carried out under tight timescales.

Proteus Advanced Systems General Manager, Ron Tryfus, said in a joint statement that the Blue Spear missile leverages on IAI’s years of experience in missile development with successful designs such as the Gabriel missile family. The Blue Spear, Tryfus noted, is a next-generation system that is an “advanced member of the Gabriel missile heritage”.

“The chosen weapon system will form the cornerstone of Estonian naval defence for decades to come,” said Commodore Jüri Saska, commander of the Estonian Navy. “[The] Estonian Navy will be able to contribute significantly both to national, regional and collective defence effort.”

The Gabriel missile family has entered service with the Israeli Navy and several other navies around the world. The sea skimming missile has evolved over the years since the first model – Gabriel I – was introduced in the 1960s. The latest version, understood to be designated the Gabriel V/Advanced Naval Attack Missile (ANAM), resembles the US-made RGM-84 Harpoon ASM and has been selected by the Finnish Navy in July 2018 as a replacement for its ageing MTO 85M (Saab RBS15) missiles.

According to the JV, the Blue Spear missile system is an advanced all-weather precision weapon which can operate in day and night conditions and is designed for engaging beyond line-of mobile and stationary targets at ranges of up to 290 km at sea. The high-subsonic missile can be launched from different land-based platforms and uses an active radar-homing seeker coupled with INS-based navigation capabilities, as well as other technologies that render it “immune to GPS disruptions”.

ST Engineering announced on 15 July 2020 that its land systems division has signed an agreement with IAI to set up a joint venture in Singapore to market and sell naval missile systems, including a next-generation anti-ship missile system. Both companies each hold a 50 percent stake.

The new joint venture will not be the first of such companies to be set up in Singapore. ST Engineering had earlier announced in July 1999 that it will partner with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to set up Smart Systems, which is presently the prime contractor for the local manufacture, supply, and maintenance of the Spike anti-armour missile for the Singapore Armed Forces.

by Jr Ng