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Artillery: JAGM Gets Spiked
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November 30, 2009: Israeli arms manufacturers have, once again, shown up their American counterparts. This time it's with a new version of the Israeli Spike missile, one with a range of 25 kilometers. This version weighs 155 pounds (70kg), twice what the current largest version of Spike weighs. Spike is a series of anti-tank (or whatever) missiles with ranges from 200-8,000 meters. The 25 kilometers version is called Spike NLOS (Non Line-Of-Sight), meaning that can be fired at a target the operator cannot see (but someone else, with a laser designator, can see). The U.S. tried to develop a missile like this (the JCM, or Joint Common Missile), but the development failed and JCM was cancelled three years ago. A new efforts, JAGM, was begun (to replace current BGM-71 TOW, AGM-114 Hellfire and AGM-65 Maverick missiles). To that end, JAGM will have twice the range of Hellfire (16 kilometers, instead of the current eight) and a seeker using three different technologies (radar, heat sensing and laser). The explosives in the 20 pound warhead will be less sensitive (and less subject to accidental detonation). JAGM is not expected to be ready for service for another eight years, assuming it survives development.

Israel also beat the U.S. to the punch with longer range NLOS missiles. For over a decade, the U.S. had been developing the "NetFires" system. But earlier this year, an Israeli firm revealed the "Jumper" system, which puts eight missiles, and a control unit in a nine (3x3) cell box (cargo type container) measuring 1.4x1.4x2 meters tall (4.3x4.3x6.2 feet). Each 129 pound (63 kg), 150mm guided missile is nearly six feet (1.8m) long and has a range of 50 kilometers. The missile uses GPS and laser seeker for guidance.

The U.S. Army NetFires (or NLOS-LS) is actually two different missiles, identical in weight and size, but different in how they operate. The main one is PAM (Precision Attack Missile). This is a 178mm diameter missile that weighs 120 pounds, and has a range of 40 kilometers. PAM attacks from above, with a 28 pound warhead. This enables it to kill any tank by hitting the thinner top armor. This warhead would also sink a small boat, especially one carrying a suicide bomber. PAM uses a GPS, imaging infrared (seeks a particular shape down there) or laser seeker.

PAMs are vertically-launched, from a 4x6x4 foot (wide x deep x high) 1.5 ton cargo container. The missiles are shipped from the factory in this sealed container. Each container holds 15 missiles and can be carried on the back of a truck, or a ship.

Both systems allow for the container to be just moved to a suitable launching area, where the missiles can be launched remotely, as needed. The NetFires will be available in two years, while Jumper is available now. This stuff is not cheap, with each missile costing over $50,000.


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Hamilcar    And Uncle continues to suffer from the competent engineer shortage.   11/30/2009 5:16:20 AM
Well.....too many damned lawyers and not enough rocket scientists.
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Bob Cortez       11/30/2009 8:14:02 AM
Actually there is a book out on why the Israeli are so good at that sort of thing.  They can recruit well through the military, before university, and they have very close academic/entrepeneurial ties, like Silicon Valley but more effective.
The also changed the laws to make such innovation more profitable. 
Again, though, the procurement system works against the US: we have decided to play catchup, and when you do, ;you never catch up.
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Shirrush    T'makes me wonder...   11/30/2009 9:21:44 AM
A enduring mystery is why, in spite of the heaviest taxes and the most punishing defense expenditure in the West, the Israeli army never seems to modernize its ground forces, except for a few showcase systems such as the Merkava Project and the Tavor rifle, which are being implemented at the pace of a rheumatism-ridden Bernese snail anyway, and in regular Army units only.
In spite of the steady stream of releases regarding innovative weapon systems developed by Israeli firms  and IDF-related R&D outfits, none of these ever seem to reach service in IDF units, which are still cluttered with the same antiquated American systems that were already obsolescent when we trained on them more than a generation ago.
The myth of the much-better equipped neighboring unit was terminally shattered during Lebanon '06, and the IDF's main body, the reserve force, is still riding M113's, shooting M16A1's, and hoping they could witness the launch of a TOW missile in training one day.
The artillery corps has certainly seen none of these Extra / Lora/ Nimrod II missiles and haven't heard about this highly hypothetical "Jumper", and can only hope to be released from checkpoint duty in the Territories for long enough to meet up with their clunky old M109's.
There is trickle of new Merkavas into the armored corps, but in case of serious SHTF, I'm pretty certain that most of the IDF will fight in these M60 clunkers, without any of these fancy-shmancy FCS's and laser-guided-gun-launched missiles, and with one thermal sight only for the entire company!  

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Sapper018       11/30/2009 10:02:07 AM
With all due respect you are not quite accurate with you description of the reserve forces in the 2006 war- yes there was Mii3 but also there were the Achzariots and pumas for the reserve forces. There were no no no M-60 deployed at all. The spike or the gil as we know it was used extensivly by the reserve units as well as the tow. Yes I to would like to see more advaced equipment in the reserve forces across the board. The situation since 2006 has improved vastly and there is a long way to go but we are far from the situation that you have decribed
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