More Countries Weigh Mini-Missile for Special Operators

The Pike missile is designed for Special Operations forces and infantry troops. (Illustration courtesy Raytheon Co.)The Pike missile is designed for Special Operations forces and infantry troops. (Illustration courtesy Raytheon Co.)

More countries are considering buying Raytheon Co.’s mini-missile for special operators and infantry forces, a company official said.

Since Raytheon unveiled the Pike missile in 2015, the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company has received permission to market the precision-guided munition from one to several foreign governments, according to Lorenzo Cortes, a spokesman for Raytheon.

The weapon — which measures 17 inches long and 1.5 inches wide and weighs just 1.7 pounds — generated buzz at last year’s launch. The projectile has a range of about 2 kilometers and is designed to be fired from existing rocket-propelled grenade launchers such as the M203 and ELGM, though an M203 launcher beneath an M4 rifle must be modified to swing out far enough to accept the round.

The Pike is designed to be used in situations where a .50-caliber machine gun or rocket-propelled grenade aren’t effective against an enemy.

James R. Smith, director of advanced land warfare systems at Raytheon’s missile systems unit in Tucson, Arizona, previously explained how the technology works.

“It sees the reflection of laser energy off the target,” he told Military.com. “As it hits its apogee and it starts coming downhill, it will see its laser spot … You don’t even have to start by lasing. You can launch it, just as long as you get the laser on it before it hits its apogee and starts coming down. For a long shot like that, you could probably lase 15 seconds after launch.”

The munition costs more than an unguided rocket-propelled grenade, but is much cheaper than the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Corp. And while the Pike has less stopping power than the Javelin, it features a blast-fragmentation warhead sufficient for eliminating two people behind a wall.

Finding a launch customer for the product — either a U.S. military buyer or foreign government — remains a work in progress.

“They’re affordable,” Cortes said. “I think it’s just a matter of timing and funding.”

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.