Raytheon has developed a hand-launched missile, called the Pike, intended to replace the M203 and the Javelin. The Pike is 17 inches long, weighs two pounds, is 40mm in diameter, and is claimed to be “the world’s only hand-launched precision-guided munition.”
The Pike is designed to be fired from a rifle-mounted grenade launcher, such as the M203, or from the new family of Enhanced Grenade Launcher Modules (EGLM), such as the H&K M320 and the FNH Mk13.
The Pike is a laser-guided munition, and thus is a crew-served weapon, requiring a pistol-like laser designator. One soldier fires the weapon and a second soldier operates the designator, or “paints the target.” The effective range is one and a half miles.
Raytheon claims that the Pike is the only hand-fired munition to offer the same high-tech guidance system and the same pinpoint accuracy found only in missiles and bombs delivered by aircraft and vehicles.
Chatter within the special operations community suggests that, although the Pike sounds fantastic, and could be a “game changer,” the jury is out until SOCOM units are able to get their hands on the Pike and test it on their ranges.
The size and length of the Pike makes it likely that an entirely new platform for firing the Pike, other than the 203 or 320, will need to be developed in order for it to be truly hand-launched. The laser designator will need to be integrated into the launcher, too, which would allow the firer to both “paint” the target and launch the projectile, making the Pike a one-man weapon. A weapon that small should not be “crew-served.” Many are dubious of whether such a small munition could truly equal or replace the Javelin in destructive power.
The Pike munition can be mounted on numerous platforms, such as Class 1 and 2 unmanned aircraft systems, all manner of light vehicles, Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS), and small boats. Rumors are that it is also being tested for robotic platforms.
(Images courtesy of raytheon.com)