US: The US Navy has unveiled the world’s smallest missile, Spike. Weighing 5 pounds, this mini-missile developed by the Navy is many, many times lighter than the 100-pound Hellfires typically carried by UAVs. “Most of our weapons are fairly large because they’re taking out very big targets. We’ve started looking at, with miniaturisation of electronics, what does that mean to weaponry? How small can we make weapons and keep them effective against the targets that we’re talking about?” said Scott O’Neil, the Executive Director of Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division. Spike is an in-house project, completely developed and funded by NAVAIR at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California. “For now, it’s a cool toy to help train NAWCWD engineers on miniature munitions systems, but it’s up for grabs if the services are interested in fielding it,” added O’Neil. The missile measures 2 ½ inches in diameter and costs about USD 50,000 with off-the-shelf parts.
“One of the real issues with weapons systems is that they’re really expensive. And so we’ve taken an alternative with this one: by using commercial technology, we can keep the cost per unit really down low so this becomes a very affordable system for the services. Spike is designed to fire at stationary or moving soft targets like people, lightly armored vehicles, structures, boats and small aircraft, while minimising the chances for collateral damage. It is guided by the same technology as a cellphone camera,” O’Neil said. “A camera on the missile takes an image of what it sees. The person shooting can then enlarge the picture and pick a target, putting a box around the person or boat or airplane, and Spike will track it. It is also designed to be launched from a variety of platforms. From the ground, on a stationary launcher, from the air we’ve launched it from a UAV, and also we’re designing it to be shoulder-launched,” said Greg Wheelock, Project Leader.
Source: Navy times