17 inches of computer and laser guided destruction in the palm of your hand.

As technology evolves, so do our weapon systems. It’s quite astonishing if you look at the rocket systems used in the past and look at what Raytheon has now accomplished. We’ve been able to take the technology used in larger aircraft based missiles and smart bombs, and shoved it into a precision guided handheld missile that will fit directly into your M320 rifle mounted grenade launcher.

From Raytheon:

We’ve really come far. Now we have, basically, a smart munition you can hold in the palm of your hand,” said a former U.S Army Special Forces Soldier who now manages the Pike program for Raytheon.

What is the Pike?

Lets take a look at some of the technical specs of this deadly technology: For more detailed technical information refer to the Pike project on the Raytheon website.

Length: 17″ – That’s right; only 17″! Imagine the kind of fire power that a single operator could carry into combat inside their ruck.

Weight: Each munition weighs in at only 2 pounds. One of the benefits we see with technology improving is reduced weight of weapon systems and gear.

Guidance and Accuracy: The Pike uses a laser guided technology that can be deployed with either a single gunner or a two-man gunner team. Raytheon recently had two successful tests where the Pike traveled more than 2300 yards and impacted within 5 yards of the intended target. For more detailed information on the actual test go HERE.

Raytheon Pike Miniaturized Missile
Image courtesy of Raytheon.com

 

Raytheon Pike Miniaturized Missile
Image courtesy of defensetech.org

What are the benefits of this to our military?

The first thing that came to mind was weight and portability. For light infantry and SOF units this is a huge advantage. Having the ability to carry several of these in your ruck can be a battlefield multiplier without breaking your back. By using the already available M320 rifle mounted grenade launchers, units now can have a long-range precision guided weapon at their disposal for recon or direct action missions. Being that the Pike is so man portable is another advantage over other older weapon systems and technologies. With this smaller laser guided munition you’re not dependent on a separate launching platform or vehicle.

Shoulder fired rockets have mostly consisted of AT4s and the M72 LAW anti tank rockets, but the disadvantage to those was once fired you’re done. It made little sense to carry more than one of those due to the size and weight. Along with the AT4, we also carried the M16A2 with an attached M203 grenade launcher. At the time we thought it was pretty damn cool to launch a 40mm grenade a few hundred meters; although not very accurate. With the Pike these issues have been effectively solved. Our ground forces now have an effective option to pit against our enemies who use RPGs or other similar platforms. The operator could potentially launch several long-range precision strikes within a reasonable amount of time if close air support is not available for whatever reason.

(Featured image courtesy of defense-update.com)