Spice-2000 bombs and the Balakot connection; What’s new about these upgraded 'building blasters'

Vikas SV

New Delhi, Sep 16: The first batch of the advanced version of Spice-2000 'building blasters' bombs, for which the order was placed with Israel in June, have reportedly arrived at IAF's Gwalior base.

Spice-2000 bombs were used during the Balakot airstrike. But that version was the penetrator version of the bomb which means that it penetrated the roof of the building and exploded inside killing people. The upgraded version with the Mark 84 warhead can destroy buildings completely.

Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense System which manufactures these bombs had in June said that the Spice 250 variant was equipped with artificial intelligence alongside automatic target recognition to be used with scene-matching technology. The defencenews.com had then reported that with its AI and "deep learning" technologies, the weapon has the ability to identify moving ground targets and distinguish them from other objects and terrain.

Balakot strike: S-2000 smart bombs penetrated targets, caused blast inside

It is not clearly known if these technologies were also incorporated in other bombs of the Spice family. The Spice bombs made by Israeli defence technology company Rafael come in three variants: SPICE-2000, SPICE -1000 and SPICE-250.

These upgraded Spice-2000 'building blasters' bombs, which IAF has received, are said to be the advanced version of Spice-2000 bombs, which were used during the Balakot airstrike. These new versions are also said to have better guidance systems. These new SPICE 2000s consist of an add-on kit for warheads such as the MK-84, BLU-109, APW and RAP-2000.

Currently, the IAF's Mirage-2000 are equipped with the Spice-2000 bombs which were used in Balakot airstrikes. During the Balakot strikes, the Air Force had, reportedly, dropped Spice-2000 bombs from Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft after a pack of 12 of these fighters crossed the Line of Control to strike the Jaish facility in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

In June, the Indian Air Force (IAF) signed a Rs 300 crore deal with an Israeli defence firm to procure a batch of SPICE 2000 guided bombs.

IAF in process of equipping Su-30MKI with Israeli SPICE-2000 bombs: sources

A SPICE bomb has a standoff range of 60 kilometres and approaches the target as its unique scene-matching algorithm compares the electro-optical image received in real-time via the weapon seeker with mission reference data stored in the weapon computer memory and adjusts the flight path accordingly.

SPICE (smart precise impact and cost-effective) bomb is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon possessed by India.

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