World's Smallest Guided Missile Hits Target



Apr 19, 2006

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Released by the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Public Affairs Office, China Lake, CA.--

By Doris G. Lance

It may be just what is needed as a Navy force protection weapon, as an armament for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or the tool for ground forces to engage mobile threats. One thing is for sure. In a test on Wednesday, April 12, the world’s smallest, tactical, “fire-and-forget” precision-guided missile impacted its 2-meter target (eight inches from dead center) at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division China Lake, Calif., after being launched from 1000 meters away.

Weighing only 5.3 pounds, 25 inches in length, and 2.25 inches in diameter, this dynamo missile, named Spike, demonstrated its ability to find and hit such targets as small boats, helicopters, bunkers, machine gun nests, plus small armored vehicles with minimal collateral damage to the surrounding environment.

Powerful and precise, Spike has another asset. It’s low-cost. This missile and launcher system uses commercial off-the-shelf components, which keeps the missile unit cost goal at five thousand dollars or less.

The lightweight, low-cost, and the “fire-and-forget” characteristics of Spike enable a Navy SEAL, a Marine, or the nation’s Special Forces military to defend from afar; and it require no assembly or maintenance. The system will accommodate a single-shot shoulder launch, or an unmanned vehicle launch that is remotely controlled.

“Spike is an 80% solution,” explained Steve Felix, who conceived the idea for the weapon. “It’s not designed for every threat on the battlefield, but it is extremely lethal against a broad cross-section of mobile targets.” This lethality was demonstrated, under the auspices of the U.S. Special Operations Command and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Advanced Systems & Concepts), during a series of tests for the miniature warhead that were conducted in December 2005 at China Lake.

Spike has been under development for several years by a small government/industry team from Weapons Division, DRS Technology and ATK-Thiokol. Because of the success of these latest trials, the Spike project office plans to conduct further tests against various stationary and mobile targets at a 2000-meter range during 2006.


Photo Cutline: Spike demonstrate the ability of its warhead in December test at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division China Lake, Ca. range.

Photo Cutline #2: The world's smallest guided missile hits the intended target during the April 12 test at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Divsion range in California.

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