SPIKE Fire-And-Forget Missile World's Smallest

The SPIKE missile, the world's smallest fire-and-forget missile at just 5.3 pounds, 25 inches long and 2.25 inches in diameter, was recently fired successfully at a moving target by U.S. Navy personnel.


(SPIKE fire-and-forget with electro-optical imaging)

The SPIKE missile has a fiber optic data link guidance system which sends commands to the missile from the launch system. The operator can maintain tracking and update aim points while the missile is in flight, and even change targets in mid-flight. SPIKE is quick, too; in earlier tests, SPIKE accelerated to 600 miles per hour in under 1.5 seconds.

SPIKE's electro-optical imaging seeker acquired, tracked and hit a target moving at thirty miles per hour at a range of 750 yards during a test by the Navy’s Air Warfare Center Weapons Div. at China Lake, California.

"It was an absolutely perfect shot," said Steve Felix, Spike project manager. "This was the first time that the Spike missile successfully tracked and hit a moving target. Spike is the smallest guided missile in the world at 25 inches long, 2.25 inch diameter, and 5.3 pounds, and is the only missile using an electro-optical imaging strapped-down seeker."

These missiles are getting smaller and smaller. At some point, we'll have smart bullets, five-inch fire-and-forget self-tracking bullet-missiles like in Michael Crichton's 1984 movie Runaway.


(Smart bullet dissected)

"Jack, look at this. The back half is all solid propellant. Valves for directional control ... look, it's all electronic."

"You've heard of a bullet that has your name on it. Well, this one really does. And you can program it to go after a specific person."

This fictional system (I can't tell you how much I appreciate movie directors who not only show cool fictional systems, but also take the time to show fictional internals for their fictional systems!) used the heat signature of individuals to target and eliminate individuals; see more pictures of the smart bullet from Runaway.

From Sic 'em, SPIKE! and Demonstration of new missile technology continues at NAWCWD China Lake via Airborne Combat Engineer.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/20/2007)

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