Category Archives: Missiles

High Tech Missiles – Military Missles

JASSM Cruise Missile of the Future

“We need some options on the table!” Yells a military commander sitting in the Pentagon.

“How about the option to hit them with stealth cruise missiles, sir?” Says a lowly defense analyst in the back.

“What did you say!?” Screams the general.

“Well sir, we can just have our jets launch these JASSM cruise missisles from about 230 miles out sir. No one is put at risk but them, and they cost $300,000 less than Tomohawk missiles. We’ll save some money and take out the targets.”

“Brilliant! Order the strikes. What did you say your name was? How would you like me to take you out to Chilis for some fajitas?”

JASSMAnd so goes the scenario in the Pentagon in 2009 once the JASSM (Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile) stealth cruise missile goes into operational service. The missile has been in development since 1996, and the production costs have reached $3 bn so far. Never fear though, because these missiles actually cost less, and work better than their main competitor, the Tomohawk cruise missile. Stand-Off range is basically considered a range long enough to where we can attack them, but they can’t attack us. Brilliant indeed. The missile carries a 1000 lb warhead, and can be fitted with nuclear, chemical, conventional, or even biological warheads.

Check out this JASSM video produced by Lockheed.

[youtube wiVfRx8O0Ow]

Future Artillery Weapons – The Army Tactical Missile System – ATACMS

ATACMSWhile launching seemingly endless volleys streaking up into the sky, the M270 MLRS mobile rocket launchers unload firepower unto the enemy. Many different types of missiles could be chosen to be launched by the MLRS, from rockets that rain shrapnel on areas the size of several football fields to GPS-guided rockets that can deliver a 500 pound warhead to any target. Likewise, defense contractors like Lockheed Martin will always be taking orders for more of these missiles and even upgrades for the system as often as they can. One of the most recent creations delivered by Lockheed Martin are the different blocks of the US Army’s Tactical Missile System (ATACMS, pronounched “attack – ’ems”). There have been two different blocks developed so far, with block I designed to deliver 950 M74 submunitions to blanket an area, and block II to deliver a 500 lb warhead. The block II variety has been enhanced to strike targets from a verticle descent path, enhancing mountainous warfare capabilities and bunker-busting. This system is an extremely flexible and devastating combination of mobility and firepower, and one of the longest range, most accurate, widely deployed, and technologically advanced¬†rocket artillery system in the world. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the US Army fired 420 MLRS rockets in the opening salvos of the war, hitting targets as far away as 120 km.¬† This weapon is literally the 500 pound gorilla of the wide open battlespace of the Middle Eastern deserts.¬† With firepower like this fielded and ready to roll, its truly a wonder that anyone would challenge it, especially from a distance.

This video is a sled test of the bunker-busting block II missile.

[youtube 7s74pmpHlvA]

Check out this video of the block I spreading submunitions.

[youtube V01K_vanJ_k]

Check out this other video of several MLRS launchers firing together at another post.

Kinetic Energy Projectile – KE-projectile

penetrator ke
An APFSDS, Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabalized Discarding Sabot round.

A Kinetic energy Projectile is one that can pierce through advanced armor more efficiently due to a smaller penetration surface and a high rate of speed. As you can see the munition bursts apart leaving a small rod that can penetrate advanced armor technology such as reactive armor. Typically the penetrator rods are constructed of extremely high-density metals such as depleted uranium or tungsten. The purpose of a sabot with rounds such as these is to increase the velocity of the projectile when fired. The sabot acts to harness more of the force from the blast used to fire the round, then is discarded mid-flight to the target.

KE rounds are different from Heat rounds such as shape charges that rely on blast fragmentation to penetrate armor. The image below shows the arsenal of 120MM rounds that the Abrams Tank is capable of firing. In the Abrams video it shows the tanks firing an APFSDS round and it shedding its sabot in slow motion. All of the rounds are used for different tactical situations and to defeat different types of armor.

Video of KE – Projectile shedding its sabot

[youtube SdB1nLNte4Y]

120mm tank rounds


Slow-Motion MLRS Video – Rocket

MLRS breakdownThe video below shows the multiple Launch Rocket System developed by Lockheed Martin in action in slow motion. The Guided MLRS (GMLRS) rocket is being developed under an international cooperative program with the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, France and Germany. GMLRS will have a global positioning system aided inertial guidance package integrated in a rocket body. Additionally, small canards on the guided rocket nose will add basic maneuverability to further enhance the accuracy of the system.

Click here to open the video in a new Window

For more information about the MLRS or Multiple launch rocket System check out another video and post here.

PAC-3 Patriot Missile – Surface to Air Missile – Raytheon

250px Patriot missile launchSurface to Air Missiles or SAM’s are a crucial addition to every countries military force. Being able to defend against air attacks from ballistic missiles, bombers, and fighters, gives any military an advantage over their adversary. The Patriot surface-to-air missile is an incredible weapon that is very precise in shooting down incoming munitions or aircraft. The patriot Missile is produced by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. The patriot is in service in a number of countries including Kuwait, Germany, Greece, Israel, and of course the United States. The range of the missile is 70 Km, and the Patriot Missiles is capable of mid-course correction to adjust its flight pattern to dynamic air threats. The video Below shows an aircraft being shot down by the patriot missile weapon system.

[youtube ouvOoPKZ8XA]

The Patriot missile is capable of simultaneously attacking multiple targets. In Total, There are eight different variants of Patriot missiles: Standard, ASOJ/SOJC, PAC-2, PAC-2 GEM, GEM/C, GEM/T (or GEM+), and the PAC-3. The Pac 3 is the most significant upgrade the Patriot missile has seen, and greatly increases the SAM’s ability to intercept missiles of all types. The Patriot’s PAC-3 version will be the primary surface to air missile for MEADS system, which is scheduled to enter service alongside the Patriot in 2012. Currently The M901 remotely operated launching station is used to transport and launch the Patriot Missiles. For more about the Patriot’s Advanced Capabilities please tune in to the video below.

[youtube Akmd2-5cc5w]

Hunter UAV Airstrike – Viper Air Attack on Vehicle

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC)

Viper Strike
The Viper is a standoff munition guided by GPS and laser-guidance. The Viper is primarily used in missions that require a flexible angle of attack, either steep or shallow. The weapon is produced by Northrop Grumann’s Land Combat Systems Facility in Alabama. This particular Viper Standoff munition requires a man to lase the target either from the UAV itself where the missile is fired from, or from the ground. The Viper is similar to the Hellfire missile used in the Predator UAV by the US air-force. The Vipers warhead is smaller than the Hellfires and the Vipers platform is the Hunter RQ-5A UAV. The Hunter is similar to the predator although its functionality is more limited.

Hunter UAV airstrike with Viper Munition
Check out an awesome Video Here, Please allow time to load as the video is somewhat large

The MQ-5CE-Hunter has been developed for longer endurance and higher-altitude missions.

Hunter 1

The Viper Munition is being tested with a variety of different platforms including AC-130 Gunships and even the notorious Predator. The video below shows the incredible power of the Viper in Combination with the Hunter UAV.

Railguns – Electric Future Rail Gun – Military Raligun

A technology that will increase the Navy’s capable strike distance by ten fold is on the way. Proposed in the 1970’s under the “star wars” Strategic Defense Initiative, railguns are no longer a thing of the past or just an idea on the drawing boards. The United States Office of Naval Research has successfully fired a Railgun and has plans to incorporate the technology into Naval Ships by the year 2020. The main idea in developing the Railgun is to overcome the limitations of chemical projectiles. The Railgun will deliver projectiles to its intended target much more quickly and with an incredible amount of force. In fact, the force from a Rail Gun will be so intense, warheads will not need to be used. Charles Garnett, the project director, said that the rail gun will be able to take out a building by the time it is put into service.
naval rail gun

Future Railguns will deliver small projectiles (3.2 KG) at immense speeds packing the punch of a Tomahawk cruise missile at a fraction of the price. For once a military technologyn is being created that greatly reduces costs to the Navy. Tomohawk Cruise Missiles can cost a million dollars a piece, while railgun projectiles are estimated to cost only $1000 by the time they are ready for use in 2020. railgun projectileStill 13 years away from actual military use, the railgun has some obstacles yet to overcome. One of the biggest challenges in creating the electronically driven railgun is to find an electronic device that can withstand the hundreds of thousands of G’s that it’s projectile is pulling after being launched from the railgun. With accurate smart weapons prevailing, GPS is becoming a more integral part of US military arsenal and the railgun is pretty useless without it. Developing a device that will shield the railgun projectile’s instruments and GPS sytems at extremely high G-forces is still underway. Similar intsrumentation protection devices have been developed in the Excalibur artillery shell which can withstand up to 16,000 G’s.

General Atomics, a San Diego Defense Contracter was awarded a 10 million dollar contract to produce a railgun. Railgun technology has many benefits such as reducing the time it takes for a projectile to reach its target, reducing the hazard of tank crews carrying explosive rounds, and the reduction in military costs to fire long distance projectiles. Although the railgun is still under development and is years away from service, the abilities of this weapon are pretty incredible, surpassing any projectile technology that we have in our arsenal today

X-51 Hypersonic Cruise Missile – Fastest Cruise Missile

Imagine having the ability to strike anywhere in the world within one hour. The X-51 is an amazing hypersonic cruise missile that travels 600 miles in just ten minutes (approximately 3600 MPH or Mach 5).

x 51 cruise missile

Compared with the Tomahawk Missile which travels at a mere 550 MPH, the X51 gives the US the ability to strike enemies quickly before they can evade. As U.S. Strategic Command’s deputy commander Lt. Gen. C. Robert Kehler puts it, the goal of the X51 is “to strike virtually anywhere on the face of the Earth within 60 minutes.”

The power of this weapon once it reaches its unfortunate target is amazing.

Traveling as fast as 13,000 mph, the warheads are filled with scored tungsten rods with twice the strength of steel. Just above the target, the warheads detonate, showering the area with thousands of rods-each one up to 12 times as destructive as a .50-caliber bullet. Anything within 3000 sq. ft. of this whirling, metallic storm is obliterated.

The X-51 Will be the most advanced cruise / long distance missile in the world when it is completed, although there have been protests that the X-51 could trigger a nuclear war. A test run of this weapon in 2008 could appear to be heading toward another nuclear power during portions of its flight pattern which could be provoking. More about this concept can be read at Popular Mechanics

AGM-86C Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile

Manufacturer: Boeing [NYSE: BA]

The conventional air-launched cruise missile (CALCM) is an affordable, long-range (standoff) missile that has been proven in combat by the U.S. Air Force. It is recognized for its rapid-response capability, and it is produced by converting surplus nuclear-armed AGM-86B missiles into the AGM-86C/D missile, which is the basis for CALCMs.

CALCM cruise missile

This particular Cruise Missile is launched by a B52 Bomber and propelled by a turbofan jet engine at approximately 500 MPH. The AGM-86C is very hard to detect with radar due to its small profile. The missile is Guided using a Global Positioning System and an Inertial Navigation System or (GPS) and (INS).

The missile Weighs approximately 3500 lbs and its payload consists of a blast-fragmentation warhead or Advanced Unitary Penetrator. One very unique feature of this advanced cruise missile is its ability to fly very low-altitude routes to a target by utilizing a terrain-contour-matching guidance system. This particular cruise missile is created by Boeing and has the following dimensions.
21′ long, 4′ diameter, 12′ wing span

Hellfire 2 – Fire and Forget Missile – Hellfire II Anti-armor Video

Lockheed Martin Hellfire II fire and forget missile

“Can be launched from multiple air, sea, and ground platforms, autonomously or with remote designation. HELLFIRE II is a highly successful, combat-proven weapon system for precision kill of high-value armor, air defense, ships, waterborne, and fixed targets. The missile may be employed by lock-on before or lock-on after launch for increased platform survivability.”

hellfire 2 water to air
Manufacturer: Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]

The new Hellfire II is the improved Hellfire missile that comes in three variants depending on the target. The Hellfire II can be launched from sea, air, and land making it very versatile. These missiles are highly effective against enclosed spaces such as ships or bunkers. The missiles are designed to minimize collateral damage and maximize explosive capability with its metal augmented charge (MAC) technology.

Check out this Hellfire missile video that shows a blast-fragmentaion warhead penetrating an armor plate.
[youtube B2KKsskpHq0]

Also See: AGM-114 Hellfire Missile