I am not sure what is more surreal – the fact that we now have a laser guided missile that can can be fired from a standard 40mm grenade launcher, or the fact that Raytheon used clean 20-somethings in polo shirts and safety glasses to demo a guided explosive device. Either way, this was a predictable munitions advancement and a real force multiplier for our good-guy soldiers who I’m sure are happy to be able to deliver their own “air strikes”.
For you ’80s kids, here’s what this new tech reminds me of:
The Pike™ munition is a 17-inch-long, semi-active laser-guided precision weapon, measuring 40 mm in diameter and weighing two pounds. It’s the world’s only hand-launched precision-guided munition. Fired from a rifle-mounted grenade launcher, the miniaturized weapon can travel one and a half miles and hit within five yards or less of a target, minimizing collateral damage.
The Pike™ 40-mm precision-guided munition is fired from a rifle-mounted grenade launcher and uses a digital, semi-active laser seeker to engage fixed and slow-moving, mid-range targets. (Download High Resolution Photo)
The laser-guided munition is nearly as narrow as some large-caliber ammunition and can fit in the palm of a hand. A lightweight precision weapon, the Pike munition doesn’t tether ground troops to a vehicle launcher. Using a laser designator that resembles a pistol, one soldier points at a target, while another fires the weapon.
Powered by a rocket motor, the Pike munition can be fired from the new family of Enhanced Grenade Launcher Modules, specifically the H&K M320 and the FNH Mk13. The munition travels to its target using a high-tech guidance system that brings the same pinpoint accuracy once found only in mammoth missiles and hulking bombs.
The weapon can be mounted on multiple platforms, including groups 1 and 2 unmanned aircraft systems, all-terrain vehicles, ground mobility vehicles, Common Remotely-Operated Weapons Station and small boats.