Raytheon Unveils New Mini Missile for Special Forces, Infantry

An official with Raytheon shows off a model of the Pike missile Oct. 12, 2015, during the AUSA conference in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Brendan McGarry / Military.com)An official with Raytheon shows off a model of the Pike missile Oct. 12, 2015, during the AUSA conference in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Brendan McGarry / Military.com)

Raytheon Co., the world’s largest missile maker, unveiled a new miniature laser-guided missile for Special Forces and infantry troops.

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company displayed a model of the so-called Pike precision-guided munition on Monday at the Association of the United States Army’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.

“What’s enabled this is the miniaturization of electronics,” James R. “J.R.” Smith, director of advanced land warfare systems at Raytheon’s missile systems unit in Tucson, Arizona, said during an interview with Military.com.

Measuring just 17 inches long and 1.5 inches wide and weighing just 1.7 pounds, 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, Smith said.

While the munition will cost more than a unguided rocket-propelled grenade, it would be orders of magnitude cheaper than the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile some troops now carry, he said.

An official with Raytheon shows off a model of the Pike missile Oct. 12, 2015, during the AUSA conference in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Brendan McGarry / Military.com)

Caption: An official with Raytheon shows off a model of the Pike missile Oct. 12, 2015, during the AUSA conference in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Brendan McGarry / Military.com)


“A lot of what our Special Forces teams are dealing with when they’re engaging someone at range right now … they’re sitting there and they’re using a .50-caliber machine gun or firing rocket-propelled grenades, they’re not hitting the target and they’re being out shot by a lot of these bad guys,” Smith said. “So how do they deal with that now?

“They pull out a Javelin, which is a pretty expensive weapon,” he said. “Whereas you could take one of these. I guarantee you this will be a tiny fraction of the cost of a Javelin.” The Javelin is made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Corp. And while the Pike will have less stopping power than the Javelin, it will feature a blast-fragmentation warhead sufficient for taking out two people behind a wall, he added.

Smith wouldn’t say how much internal research and development funding the company spent on the project, but he said the effort has been underway for about three years. In May, Raytheon successfully tested two Pike munitions with dummy warheads at a private range in Texas, he said. The technology is compatible with any kind of properly coded laser designator, he said.

“It sees the reflection of laser energy off the target,” he said. “It’s looking for that laser energy. 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.”

An M203 launcher beneath an M4 rifle would need to be modified to accept the round, Smith said. “The ones that are underneath the M4 carbines now, they can’t swing out far enough to slide it in,” he said. “It only sticks out so far. So they would have to modify that.”

Raytheon officials are talking to Army personnel about helping to fund additional testing of the design to include live-fire exercises, Smith said.

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.
  • That’s going to be a game changer.

  • Pikestaff

    Is that a Pike in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? :-)

    • Rod

      Looks more like a light saber to me.

      -Dave Chapelle

    • Robert

      That is hilarious!!

  • Lance

    Doubt it pack the punch to knock out a MBT but might be good for bunkers.

    • wichitachiefsfan

      The article said it has a fragmentation grenade, for taking out people only.

    • Ziv

      I think we can afford to supply a Javelin if there is a MBT involved.

    • d kellogg

      If they can build a laser homing round this small, electro-optical/TV guidance isn’t far away. With that precision, this small munition (with a secure datalink) could actually be flown down an open hatch, or thru a vehicle windshield or side window. Contain that warhead inside a vehicle when it detonates, it’s gonna kill or seriously wound more than just two people.
      Next step could be a lightweight cluster/pod for RWS and other small-form vehicle gunner installations.

    • Mike

      I wouldn’t be surprised if a HEAT round was developed for light armored vehicles.

  • John

    what is the range?

  • Van Sanders

    Well the terrorist would sure like to get their hands on them. Be handy around the deer lease as well. Seriously what ever works well and is glitch free.

  • Lancelot

    Range is 2km

    Will take out several terrorists or russian green men, penetrate walls, and out-shoot any sniper with a 50 or 404


    • huscarl91

      Probably do one hell of a number on a Toyota HiLux, too.

      • duker

        Lets see if Top Gear can still drive one after a hit from one of these puppies.
        I always thought a .50 calibr round through the radiator/engine block was the way to go

  • FoamOnLine.Com

    The concept is outstanding however increase the punch by ten. Only then can we call it what ever we want including the Game Changer.
    The Foam Wizard.

    • Can you say light weight and easy to carry?

    • Robbie

      Should reduce the demand for 60mm mortar fire, although mortar rounds are still far cheaper.

  • bandit

    How much does it cost?

  • BiggerCat

    This is a missile that has the potential to be truly devastating if it were to fall into the wrong hands — say a terrorists’. Very special precautions need to be put in place to ensure that every one of these Pike missiles is always accounted for at all times! There could even be U.S. military personnel who might want to try to smuggle one back to the United States. And for those who say that our Special Forces personnel are too professional to do anything of the sort, I beg to differ. There was a recent case of a former Navy SEALS being busted for having a cache of explosives in his garage in Virginia Beach.

  • Manuel Labor

    It just got really fun to be in the Weapons Platoon.

  • jbeme

    question is, would this be used for more then a couple scenarios?
    Soldiers on foot have a finite amount of munition to carry.
    Since this doesn’t replace a javelin, they will still have to carry those.
    This doesn’t really replace anything, it’s an additional weapon. But todays wars are fought one of two ways, secure a small area or using a tactical strike on a target.
    Tactical strikes tend to be done with drones.
    Securing a new area tends to be done with a single squad who are air lifted in.
    New missiles, however light – are still additional weight and size.

    So what are these designed for? What situations?

    • RDavis

      Imagine a 5-man squad with each person carrying 2 of these in their kit. That only adds 3 pounds to each person. It gives you 10 rockets with 2km range and laser designator accuracy. I doubt the squad is going to pack 10 javelins.

      Imagine a fortified position on a hill top with a 50cal on top. You can’t get close enough for small arms or rpg. You can send three of these over the top of the fortifications and take out the group on top from up to 2km away. Yeah, I think these would have a place with the squad.

      • Yscott

        If you miss you have given away your position for others to see…

    • d kellogg

      With the right pod design, how many of these do we think a drone can carry? Something small like a Sentinel could surely carry a pair of pods maybe offering a dozen rounds…?
      A Predator could carry these things by the dozens. If it can be launcher-fired, free-fall dropping from an aerial platform is perfectly within reason, the catch being the lase window (engagement timeframe) of a given target.
      …If we ever learn to actually make QUIET drones (Sentinels, Ravens, Reapers, and Predators/Grey Eagles ALL sound like flying lawn mowers: you hear them from some distance away), these would be ideal covert anti personnel strike weapons. Battlefield assassination at its finest.

    • BMac

      You ever have to carry a jav and launcher? bulky and heavy. these things can be fired from an M4 (modified) which two team members usually carry anyway._You could carry a dozen of these and be LIGHTER than carrying the javelin…. yeah they don’t blow up as big, but I am sure they make a wall buster, AP and HEI pike…which could be used in succession and still do the damage needed.

    • blight_asdf

      “this doesn’t replace a javelin”

      Depends on what targets you expect to encounter in the sticks. A unit expected to fight light and would otherwise leave the Javelin or 60mm mortars at home suddenly has something with more touch range than a 40mm, and perhaps may contribute in its own way to surprise. By now our enemies must be used to the idea of a supersonic crack indicating the presence of a sniper in the area. Perhaps mixing the use of long-range mini rockets and snipers may allow for new ideas to send martyrs to heaven.

      • Yscott

        The supersonic crack doesn’t give away its origin.. missile contrails do.

        • d kellogg

          How many interviews have YOU seen of people who ran away from missiles? I haven’t seen any yet.

  • UAVgeek

    Put a 100 of these on a plane and we can have a Macross Missile Massacre/Itano Circus!

    • Rick Hunter


  • john

    just a more expensive law or rpg

    • d kellogg

      Or the fore-runner of a guided LAW round in 66mm…?

    • jmp2336

      ….but guided.

    • Robbie

      …….and much longer range.

  • Frank Montini

    I say old school on the end of a rifle. Rifle grenades worked for years and Israel still uses a version of them

    • blight_asdf

      Agreed. Bringing back the rifle grenade might be a preferrable solution to relying on the grenadier. And in the old days, they had anti-vehicle rifle grenades. With some kind of fire-and-forget guidance system (or tank detection, a la BAT..magnetometer perhaps?) armored vehicles are finished. When it comes to people, it may be trickier. Probably just eyes on target, or lasing.

    • Joe Sovereign

      You should be able to throw it like a stick grenade. Throw it at a high arc in the direction you want it to go, add a streamer to keep the front pointed up. Rocket kicks in, at apogee it recognizes lazed target, and precision guides to target.

  • Frank Castro

    What are we waiting for?

  • Grandeurer

    I wanna see how this tiny missile take out a tank or armored vehicle.

    • DW1

      They never claimed that it would take out a tank or armored vehicle.

  • nick987654

    They should put a laser designator on a man portable mini drone, and use that rocket in NLOS mode with a lofted trajectory. It could take out the enemy soldiers one by one.

  • ersil hickey

    Live Test it in Syria

    • Guest

      ABSOLUTELY!!! :-)

  • Zardeus

    I look forward to the consumer version.

    • duker

      And ‘open carry’ to go with it ?
      If the SWAT teams get it , then it will bring a whole new meaning to ‘no knock’

  • SloaneH

    Old idea, bad implantation. We needed this like 40 years ago. Again the Infantry being the last to get the “cool” stuff. This would be a great addition to the TALOS system if it is incorporated in a launcher which could be pack carried or a magazine fed shoulder launched system allowing the user to saturate an area if need be. It also needs more “Pow” because only the ability to kill in a small area is not that great. They need a shape charge warhead for armor as well as the thermobaric warhead for anything else that may need removal from the battlefield.

    • d kellogg

      The technology wasn’t there 40 years ago.

    • Guest

      I agree with needing a larger punch because at 1.7 lbs total weight, the warhead could not be any larger than maybe…1/4lb I would think. But the different type warheads could easily come later, as it is just in initial testing phase now. Maybe…1/2 to .6 lb warhead would make some nice noise :-)

      • d kellogg

        At most, hand grenades only have a few ounces of explosive in them: nobody wants to be within the vicinity of a hand grenade going off. Look at this as an extended range precision grenade more than seeing it as some next-gen mini-ATGM.

  • DW1

    < <>>

    Seriously??? They think that’s still a problem???

    How is it that they’re knowledgeable enough to know that the M203 won’t work, but mistakenly believe that the M203 barrel swings out instead of how it really works which is by sliding forward which is what limits the overall length of ammo it can use? And how is it that they’re completely clueless that the M203 is slowly being replaced by the M320 which has a barrel that swings to the side (like a break open shotgun on its side) to allow longer ammo types?

    • blight_

      Perhaps the issue lies in their abuse of unclear verbiage. “Swings out” could likely refer to a forward sliding action, using the colloqial definition of swing as “thingy that moves”.

      Go figure from sales reps.

    • Manuel Labor

      The Author obviously doesn’t know his Weapons. He’s describing the M320, not the M203.
      Ah, back in the day we had Iron Sights & the 203. It must be nice to have access to ACOG & Reflex sights.

    • jmp2336

      I’m willing to be he had the M320 on his mind when he described it “swinging out” and the move to replace the M203.

  • blight_

    Great, that means OICW is finally ready for show time?

    Remember the magical ’90s when we decided to pay for 2015 capability in the ’90s? :)

  • JAMF

    This is not new, my girlfriend has one in her dresser drawer.

  • d kellogg

    I’m seeing a more logical approach may well and all just be a disposable 1-shot launcher, a throw-away mini-LAW/mini-bazooka. If the designator is off-system (handheld by someone else), there can’t be a lot of real need for a bunch of fancy gizmos on a disposable launch tube other than some cheap elevation-to-range indicator. Anti-personnel Panzerfaust.

  • Alan

    Not much use why mention the Javelin that is an anti tank weapon, this is just anti personel

    • derf

      This is designed for lightly fortified positions. If the bad guys have a small bunker, with decent bullet protection, the US troops are pulling out their next biggest weapon – the Javelin. But it is inefficient – or rather, a waste – to use a cutting edge anti-tank weapon like the Javelin against a lightly fortified hut with a few guys in it.

      They do it now because they’ve got nothing better. But with this, they would have something better. A 2 pound, 2km range anti-personnel missile that can penetrate light fortifications and deal with crappy bunkers, or a 50-pound Javelin?

  • Vince

    Have to question range and warhead size.

  • steve

    A great idea. In many of our current conflicts, lugging a Javelin around is a bit much and overkill. A bunch of these can be carried in just a squad. Perfect for taking out fighting positions, crew served weapons and such. Love hearing they came up with it on their own, instead of years of taxpayer-funded development.

  • Pat McGroyne

    Is there a civilian version? My wife wants one for some reason.

  • Roy

    here’s a changer with this smaller load a spc ops can shadow a car full of IS leaders have a drone the is launched as they head out call in a pike to take out said car a lot cheaper and just as pinpoint

    • d kellogg

      It’s small enough that, if it could be flown in thru a vehicle window, it could detonate inside and kill the occupants, without excessively blasting apart the vehicle and risk killing surrounding non-combatants.

  • Rich

    Out shot by bad guys?!? Not on this planet! We reach out and touch farther than any bad guys walking. Unlike a 203 round, it’s rimless, so it can be loaded from the muzzle(not the breach), which is a limiting factor on the 203 from the M-79. Just make sure the LT isn’t playing with it…..

  • stan

    When did the M-203 become an RPG??

  • Reinaldo

    There are a few points that are not covered in this article. The first one is at what level of organization this weapon system will be introduced in an Infantry organization (Brigade/Battalion/Company/Platoon/Squad)? What kind of laser designators we are talking about? Are we talking about a new type of laser designator, or something that is already in the inventory? Who would be assigned to operate the laser designators? Is the laser designator to be assigned to the same squad/platoon/company etc, as the missile itself? If not, how are they supposed to communicate with each other? Do we need more radios? I will also like to know what this new weapon system can do that a 60mm or a 81 mm mortar can`t do.

    • d kellogg

      A previous article from Raytheon’s website suggests there is a pistol sized designator in the works. http://www.raytheon.com/news/feature/guided_weapo

    • steve

      It’s meant for use at the front, by the small teams in combat.

      Any properly coded laser, which means it tracks the ones already in use.

      Did you read the article? It goes in to a grenade launcher, and gets fired out of it. Your buddy meanwhile is lighting the target with a laser.

      It will be on target before you could call in a mortar.

      • conradca

        Not only that but it should be a lot more accurate than a mortar.

  • Steve Jobs

    How come no one here is asking about mounting this on an aerial drone? Now, THAT would be a game changer fellas.

  • Cockgrinch

    “Where you from they asked,
    Sheboygan, he revealed,
    Whaddya catch?
    He said Mostly pike,
    They let him on the field”

    ~”Tim The Diehard Packer Fan” by Paul Gilmartin

  • Marko

    Boba Fett has one of these

  • ALAN

    pick a peck of pickled pikes yikes!!

  • WJUStudent

    It’s the Ex Wife from Hammer Industries…hopefully it works a little better though

  • Bill Duffy

    Seems it was built for space warfare. Seems quite well designed for taking out satellites

  • Eric

    So, lemme see if I got this right.
    Load, Fire, Lase. In the process you set aside your point/automatic weapon or have an asst. gunner do the lase? That to me equates to a passive/defensive individual weapon or a two man active system w/ a role swap to cover fire the laser designator.
    Also sounds like they need to go back to the much older breech load launcher, so old I’ve forgotten the nomenclature……
    Still a good light missile at 2K range and it weighs a lot less than a Javelin; especially if they can diversify it enough for several types of targets.

  • jmp2336

    “…designed to be fired from existing rocket-propelled grenade launchers, such as the M203 and ELGM, Smith said.”

    You would think that Mr Smith, in his position, would know the 40mm grenades fired from the M203/ELGM are not “rocket-propelled”. I guess an AT-4 is a “rocket” as well… But how I do so love new technology. Can’t wait to be able to get inside of one of these.

  • Rob06

    I always thought a laser seeker (like DAGR) on 70mm rocket, tucked into a Stinger Launch tube could be the longest range precision firing weapon a platoon could field. 6.6 pound blast -frag warhead, 8000m range. Use as man-packed, or avenger vehicle mounted – it’s 22 pounds by itself, stinger launcher brings it to 35 pounds, lighter than Javelin at 49 pounds, and cheaper at $38K v $78K.

    If you expect tanks – take the javelin, if not, take the stinger/ LG variant (call it the Longbow). Given the success of the DAGR and other laser guided (LG) 70mm rockets – the technology to apply laser guidance to the stinger is mature and on the shelf. I like the suggestion of drone based laser designation at the squad or platoon level, but the old standard MULE would serve well too.

  • PGN63

    Someone didn’t do their homework. The M-203 is not a rocket propelled grenade launcher. It is also breech loaded….so how will someone hold the 203 when there is nowhere for a back blast? It is going to be a helluva kick to launch one of those out of a 203.

  • Army_tank commander

    this will get lots of use by the new Obama gay army as well. “More bang for the buck”

  • Stan

    What happened to the programmable fuse grenade launcher?

  • john

    not many years ago ,they were thinking to drop a inert round from a satellite the kinetic
    energy would be the kill factor,with a drone could this be better?

  • miles

    Wake me when they can pull of a “Itano Circus”!

    • miles

      Sorry pull off a “Itano Circus”.

  • JohnD

    Can it be launched off the muzzle of the M4 like the old Energa rifle grenade? The M16 was designed to do that.

  • JohnD

    Can it be launched off the muzzle of the M4? The M16 was designed to do,this. Also can you front load the missile in the muzzle of the M203 like the Russian launcher? This would save redesigning the M203.

    • blight_asdf

      If length is a constraint it’s unlikely. Perhaps the M320 will be better off, though a rifle grenade firing mode would be welcome.

  • Dfens

    All the power and some of the range of a .50 at 10,000 times the cost. Sounds like a defense contractor’s dream.

    • d kellogg

      Over estimate. What’s the cost of an M2 browning, and how crew portable is it (including its tripod)?
      How portable are the .50-cal ammo boxes in addition to the grunts’ standard packload of ruck and rifle?
      Every grunt could carry one Pike and think it was nothing more in size and weight than some of those more robust “tactical” flashlights that hold several D cell batteries.

      • Dfens

        You’re thinking of a different .50 cal, although for a long time the long range kill shot record was held by Carlos Hathcock who had an M2 converted to fire single shots and outfitted with a scope.

        • d kellogg

          You don’t have to convert an M2 Browning .50-cal to fire single shot. It’s done by rotating a knob on the back of the gun between the spade grips. The barrel and bullet are the drawback in that heavy machine gun: standard ball ammo makes it mostly luck to hit precision targets at that range.
          Modern bullet ballistics, better barrel construction (materials and variations in rifling) and powder chemistry offer more precision at range, but it’s still coming down to a good bit of luck and a lot of training to teach the discipline of long range precision shooting.
          It takes less skill and training (money saved) for a guy to lase a target while another one fires a mini missile then just watches where it goes.
          While certainly it should NOT replace sniping, it’s a complementary capability to it. And trained anti material long range rifle teams aren’t standard procedure in every platoon and squad. This takes it down to a capability for every other person (one lase, one shoot), if not everyone as the tactics are refined (shoot first into the direction, then lase after X seconds in the terminal phase).

  • guest

    Utilizing today’s new “smart recognition” technology… there ought to be a way to have each of these “issued” to a soldiers thumbprint. Meaning the would ONLY operate for the soldier they were issued to and if anyone else tried to open them they would detonate. That ought to keep prying eyes (read opposing forces) from being able to capture and use these against U.S. Forces.

  • Dfens

    Does it vibrate?

  • conradca

    Measuring just 17 inches long and 1.5 inches wide and weighing just 1.7 pounds, 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, Smith said.

    The M203 is a more like a mortar than an RPG.

  • Damien

    This would be better if it was muzzle loaded into a m203 or m320 – like the way rpg7 rockets are. That way you could have an over caliber warhead on it.

    Hell, wait for laser guided rpg7 rockets.

  • Joseph A Merrill III

    Give the round a rocket booster and pack 9 in a M202 Flash Launcher size throwaway once empty launch tube set. That would be well within Portability limits. I Had One Marine Friend who during the 1973 Fracas in the Middle East was told if SHTF and we go ashore to Block the Road between Alexandra Egypt and the Canal You will be packing 19 LAW on a ruck frame for the mission. Just a 95 pound Mission weapon loadout plus personal weapons, Water, Rations and ammo.

    • d kellogg

      Sounds good, but in the space those four 66mm rockets take up, you may actually be able to fit 16 (4×4) of these 40mm mini missiles (with sufficient length that a longer range booster might work). But that would put its all up weight in the vicinity of systems like Javelin. So might as well put a mini MLRS like that onto a vehicle. Those 50/40 turrets the USMC likes on their AAV7s and Army mounts on ASVs (we used to call those V150s) would be an ideal starting point: latch it onto the side of the turret, and any dismount with a designator can call for precision fire from 2km away (more if they fit a booster).


    Will it fit on some smaller UAV’s???

  • Guest

    This is not being used against tanks due to the tanks possibly having good counter-measures against it. A tank with a laser warning system and a good laser counter measure could spoof all of the incoming rounds. This is for use against soft targets.

  • Ryu

    So is it a frequency seeker, or does the laser send a pulsed binary code that the on-board receptor must be mated to, or is the laser internal so the projectile can stay with its targets. It doesn’t really matter. Technology is easy to overcome. By assuming any of these three possibilities, counter-measures can quickly be created. Technology is “nice.” Well trained, intelligent soldiers are the key to victory.

  • Snidely

    Another new gee-whiz gizmo for the Pentagon crowd to push. If the enemy is at 2 klicks, he’s not engaging our SF or infantry with small arms. If he has tanks or artillery, SFis in big trouble and needs air support.

  • d kellogg

    A while back when it was announced Airtronic was going to ~re-invent~ the RPG-7, they got a lot of “Why bother?” flak about it (forums all over arguing the minuses, and sense of even doing it, more than any advantages and pluses.

    Of interest, this article here from DefenseUpdate.Com. There’s is mention that their’s (Airtronics’) PSRL has greater accuracy to greater range, and that future development could see a guided round. Seeing as it’s already a 40mm tube, and Chemring of the US is doing new RPG/PSRL ammunition as well as the plethora of US 40mm grenades, logical approach then is to clear the Airtronics weapon for firing Pike.

  • Lawrence Daniel

    I just thought maybe Daniel Electronics & Engineering Technologies may get into the engineering and design of weapon systems. There is a UV portable laser system in the works.

  • c1mm0

    Javelin system: 49.2 lb for a SINGLE LAUNCHER.
    This little rocket: 2 lb + launcher, let’s say 10 pounds max (for example M320 weighs ~3,5 lb).

    Do you realize you could fire about 20 of these at bad guys from 2 kilometers away, designated by a micro-UAV, drone, some guy with a laser designator etc.

    Soft targets like trucks, MG positions, sandbags etc. could be taken out easily without wasting expensive ordinance. Javelins cost 246 000 USD a pop. Might have to fire two if there are several targets – frying half a million USD with that decision. That would be okay if the destroyed target was a multi-million dollar tank. But that is not okay when the target is something as ordinary as a guy hiding behind a wall.

    More than anything, this is a product that will SAVE MONEY. This in turn will lower the tolerance to use guided munitions against soft targets AND give soldiers the capability to actually do so.