L-3, Raytheon Develop Laser-Guided Rocket for Small Boats

TALON launchL-3 and Raytheon have teamed up to develop small boat protection systems using precision-guided 2.75-inch rockets that draws upon laser technology and sensors to pinpoint targets.

While able to fit a number of configurations including potential land and sea applications, the weapon is ideally designed for small boats and littoral environments.  In particular, developers say the weapon would be well suited for patrol craft, riverines, fast attack craft or small boats called corvettes, its developers said.

Called the TALON-RWS, the system combines Raytheon’s TALON 2.75 inch rockets with L-3s Remote Weapons System, or RWS, said Don Linnell, director of business development, integrated optical systems, L-3.

Both Raytheon and L-3’s respective parts of the system have been in existence for a number of years.

“There’s been minimal investment needed because they are both proven systems. We mount the TALON on the RWS,” Linnell added.

Raytheon’s TALON is a 2.75-inch rocket that features a digital semi-active laser guidance system that is being developed with the United Arab Emirates, said John Eagles, a Raytheon spokesman.

“Talon’s architecture and ease of employment make it a low-cost, highly precise weapon for mission in urban environments, counter insurgency and swarming boat defense missions,” Eagles said.

The precision-guided weapon could be offensive or defensive, Linnell and Eagles said.

“There are all sorts of weapons trade studies being done now to address small swarming boats. This would be an option for that. It is rapid fire, laser-guided, accurate and quickly reloadable,” Eagles said.

The weapons are engineered to be lightweight in order to be mounted on small boats or vehicles. The mount, sensor package and missile pod fully loaded weigh about 500 pounds.

Linnell said the TALON-RWS could provide a mobile, light weight precision weapon that might be preferable to the protective weapons used today by most small boats in the Navy.

The sensor is a configurable electro-optical camera which combines with a laser designator and laser rangefinder to locate targets.

The TALON-RWS has been tested at Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz., where it was fired successfully from a land-based structure, Linnell said. More tests are planned, including one where the TALON-RWS will shoot try to shoot down a UAS, he said.

During the recent Surface Navy Association Annual Symposium, Chief Naval Officer Adm. Jonathan Greenert said the Navy is arming patrol craft with Griffin missiles in an effort to make sure small boats have sufficient armament and protection.

About the Author

Kris Osborn
Kris Osborn is the managing editor of Scout Warrior and a former associate editor at Military.com.

17 Comments on "L-3, Raytheon Develop Laser-Guided Rocket for Small Boats"

  1. *Cough*LCS*Cough*

  2. These could be put in a lot of combat environments, as the article states in small boats, on light Armored vehicles, and is already in use by the Marines on the Cobra Z. There are mock-ups of vehicles using dual 19 shot pods being considered by a current government . They are cheap and the US has a lot of the older 2.75 rockets around in inventory that can be rebuilt with the new seeker head very cheaply. So IMO we should be up-grading the old ones and designing new platforms to fire them ASAP.

  3. Wonder if these could be put onto Humvees as pocket artillery.

  4. Are there any weight and dimensions estimate for these? The photograph doesn't have any good reference points, and I don't see a reference link in the article for more detail.

  5. Since this is a derivative of their basic Hydra 70 Rocket, it should weigh between 15 and 20 pounds with the seeker attached.

  6. OK, development cost is low and tha't a nice percision weapon; but how effective would it be against swarm attacks?
    range- a swarm with 122mm will out-range the 2.75" rocket
    rate of fire- this system can engage only one target at a time; only one laser designator. The swarm may still get through and kill a 600M$ LCS.

    Against swarms, I'd look for "brilliant" autonomous guided shells for the 57mm gun.

  7. Whenever I see the term "low-cost" used by defense contractors, I cringe.

    Missiles always cost a lot more than shells (they have a much higher profit margin), and the defense industry generally therefore prefer to deemphasize guns. Nothing like a hugely expensive missile to kill a comparatively cheap powerboat!

    OTOH, if the navy buys a lot of these, then the concern regarding the swarm of speedboat problem that gave birth to the nightmare known as LCS can be put to rest, and thats one more corporate welfare program that could be safely cancelled.

  8. If you have 20 small boats approach an LCS, how can you tell which one is full of explosives, while the rest are innocent? This sounds like a good non-lethal way of taking out a boat- at the water line, or the motor. War is hell, but you don't want to give the aspiring Pulitzer Prize authors anymore than you have to. That is worth a lot on it's own.

  9. Directed energy weapons seem to be coming into their own. When they do, there'll be a lot of fall out among our current projectiles and missiles.

  10. Only problem when using rockets they travel a lot further and can cause collateral damage too.

  11. SRM-6 with Artemis

  12. This reminds me of the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) made by their competitors.
    I wonder if they have similar characteristics or if they are two completely different systems (one is airborne and the other one is land/sea based after all).

  13. AIUI, the final production iteration of the APKWS II is in "kit form" that can be inserted into a wide number of 70mm rocket types, between the rocket motor assembly aft and the warhead section forward.
    Not so much as a "bolt on", but rather a "separate the rocket in the mid section and install the APKWS II guidance package, then re-assemble rocket."

    TALON appears to use a single nose-mounted seeker, not the fin-mounted detectors used in the APKWS II system, so I don't know if it's an upgrade that can be done in the field to unguided rockets, or if the rounds must come pre-assembled from the factory as an all-up munition.

  14. A solution looking for a problem. Haven't I seen M2's and Miniguns hanging off the side of Navy ships for protection from small boats. I'm aware that most sailors can't hit anything with them but the ocean, but that is a different issue.

  15. I want one for my 34-footer

  16. Hi All,
    Does anyone know where the TALON laser systems are manufactured? In Texas or California? Wondering if any of my friends in those facilities got the contract. :)

  17. That is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very accurate information… Many thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

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