March 1, 2008:
The U.S. Navy has had
four successful tests of its new Spike guided missile, for use on UAVs. Note
that this system has the same name, but is a different missile, than the Israeli
anti-tank missile of the same name. The navy Spike is the smallest UAV launched
guided missile ever, being 25 inches long, 57mm in diameter and weighing 5.3
pounds. It can use a laser or an electro-optical guidance system (the operator
flies it into the target). Spike has been able to hit moving vehicles. Spike is
also cheap, costing about $5,000 per missile.
Range is 3,000 meters. The warhead contains two pounds of explosives,
which is sufficient to take out a carload of bad guys, or fly through a window
and kill a room full.
Currently, there are two other lightweight
weapons for UAVs. The $50,000, 44
pound Viper Strike, has a four pound warhead. For $25,000 each you can use the
new, laser guided 70mm rockets. These weigh 25 pounds and have a six pound warhead.
The Viper Strike is a laser guided glide bomb that basically comes straight
down. The 70mm rocket has a range of about six kilometers.