Raytheon developed a new miniaturized missile for Special Forces

Measuring at just 17 inches long and nearly 2 inches wide, Raytheon’s new “Pike” precision-guided missile can hit targets more than 1.3 miles away, James Smith, director of advanced land warfare systems at RaytheontoldMilitary.com.

“Pike uses a digital, semi-active laser seeker to engage both fixed and slow-moving, mid-range targets,” Smith said. “This new guided munition can provide the warfighter with precision, extended-range capability never before seen in a hand-held weapon on the battlefield.”

The release claimed that the 1.5 pound missile can launch from today’s standard M320 launcher, and engage a rocket motor a few feet after leaving the barrel. From there, it flies nearly smokeless, making it harder for enemies to track or detect, until hitting fixed or slow moving target up to 1.3 miles away.

“In the current configuration, the warfighter will enter programmable laser codes prior to loading Pike into its launcher. Spiral development calls for multiple-round simultaneous programming and targeting with data link capabilities.”

The M79 40mm grenade launcher was first put into action by US troops in Vietnam, where the cartoonish “bloop” noise it made earned it a couple cute nicknames (Bloop Gun, Bloop Tube, or Thumper Gun, for example) that undersold its destructive capabilities.

M320 grenade launcher practice target shooting rangeMatt Morgan via Wikimedia CommonsA US Army soldier training with an M320 mounted on an M4 carbine.

At first, the M79 was a standalone weapon, resembling a shotgun with a short, wide barrel. Later, the M79 gave way to newer models, like the M203, or today’s M320.

Grenade launchers became available as an attachment for assualt rifles, appearing below muzzels of heavy duty operators from special forces troops, to border patrol guards, to over-the-top movie druglords like Scarface’s Tony Montana.

Grenade launchers became known as effective medium range tools, sending grenades much farther than a human arm could throw, but still had an arched trajectory that limited range and required some finesse to properly land.

Another benefit of the launchers was it’s ability to fire a range of different grenades for different situations, like fragmentation, white phospherous, or smoke. Raytheon’s update to this weapons system leaves the launcher unchanged, and simply offers a high tech new round.

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