Northrop Grumman/ATK VENOM Targeting Pod Armed with 6-Round GATR-L Tactical Precision-Guided (Laser-Guided) 2.75″/70mm Hydra Rocket Pod for Military Special Operations (SPECOPS)

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By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com

All photos contained in this article were taken by, and are copyrighted. owns the copyright on these photos. The photos were shot with Canon PowerShot S90 10-megapixel digital camera (still camera with video capability).

June 24, 2010
Updated on 8/13/10

Anyone who’s been reading DefenseReview for the last few years know that we’re BIG fans of precision-guided 2.75-inch (2.75″)/70mm Hydra rockets, i.e. the “HELLFIRE Jr.” concept. The following is a quick rundown of the various developmental systems we’ve covered, discussed, and mentioned:

– BAE Systems/Northrop Grumman/General Dynamics Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System II (APKWS II), utilizing a Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker (DASALS) for guidance to the target
– Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control (LMMFC) 70mm Direct Attack Guided Rocket (DAGR)
– Magellan Aerospace/Kongsberg Defence & Aerorspace (KDA) CRV7-Precision Guided (CRV7-PG)
– ATK/Elbit Guided Advanced Tactical Rocket – Laser (GATR-L) “Gator” precision laser-guided Hydra rocket
– Raytheon/EAI “Laser Guided Rocket” (LGR) semi-active-laser-guided 2.75″/70mm Hydra rocket

Yep, we sure like our precision-kill rockets with a passion, over here. That said (or written, in this case), we don’t adhere to, nor accept, the nimrod-like/sub-evolutionary, idiotic and ideological Rumsfeldian RMA (Revolution in Military Affairs) warefare philosophy/agenda. RMA is frankly WAY too limited, as it ignores the basic necessity of sheer numbers of personnel AND materiel to win wars. We just like having precision-kill/targeted killing capability IN ADDITION TO, NOT INSTEAD OF superior numbers of men and machines.

Anyway, while we were at SOFIC 2010, we ran into some friendly gentleman at the Northrop Grumman/ATK (Alliant Techsystems) booth displaying the VENOM remote targeting pod system with accompanying 6-round Guided Advanced Tactical Rocket – Laser (GATR-L) 70mm/2.75″ laser-guided rocket pod. And, yes, this is indeed the second article in a row discussing a product with the “GATR” acronym, although the two products are completely dissimilar. Complete coincidence.

The VENOM/GATR-L combo is pretty badass, as you can mount the system on both aircraft (manned and unmanned) and ground vehicles (manned and unmanned), and if the aircraft or vehicle is large enough, you can mount multiple rocket pods, giving warfighters one hell of an infantry-level precision-kill capability–and we’re all about killin’ bad guys, over here.

Regarding VENOM, first things first: catchy name. Second thing: awesome capability, assuming it works as advertised and the developers have all the bugs worked out of the system, including the VENOM pod, targeting software, AND GATR-L precision-guided Hydra rocket pod.

VENOM is billed as a “highly-integrated gyro-stabilized sensor platform” providing 360-degree azimuth coverage and vertical range of plus/minus 45 degrees. Venom features and benefits are listed as follows:

– Warfighter Protection (under armor)
– Remote-Controlled Laser Rangefinder/Designator
– 2-axis Stabilized Positioner for Stable Imaging
– Moving Target Auto-Tracker
– Target Tracking While On the Move
– Windows-Based User Interface
– Integral INS for Precision Target Location
– Vehicle-Mounted or Man-Portable/Man-Packable
– Open Architecture/ Open-Frame Flexibility Allows Easy Refit/Retrofit with other Sensors
– Digital Link into Tactical Network – BAO/CoT (Falconview)

The GATR-L a.k.a. “Gator” 2.75″/70mm rocket, originally jointly developed by Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and Elbit Systems, utilizes a semi-active laser guidance package to “achieve extreme accuracy” against both stationary and moving hostile enemy targets. GATR-L gives the operator lock-on-before-launch capability, ensuring that only the target of interest is engaged and destroyed, thus providing precision-strike/kill capability with significantly reduced, i.e. minimized, collateral damage at significantly lower per-unit cost vs. other guided missiles, like the AGM-114K HELLFIRE II missile, for example.

And you’ve got seven (7) of them per pod (rocket pod), which is pretty good.

Ideally, you’d want to be able to network manned aircraft, unmanned aircraft a.k.a. UAS/UAVs (Unmanned Aircraft Systems/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), manned ground vehicles (tracked and wheeled), and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) a.k.a. ground robots together, all or some of them armed/weaponized with GATR-L rocket pods. The Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout VTUAV (Vertical take-off and landing Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicle) and Boeing A160T Hummingbird unmanned helicopters/UAS/UAVs may be good candidates for GATR-L weaponization. The AAI/Textron Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TUAS) family (Shadow 200, Shadow 400, and Shadow 600) may also be good candidates. The only question is, how many GATR-L rockets/missiles will these systems be able to carry, respectively?

Company Contact Info:

Northrop Grumman Corporate Headquarters
1840 Century Park East
Los Angeles, California 90067-2199
Phone: 310-553-6262

Corporate Headquarters
ATK (Alliant Techsystems)
7480 Flying Cloud Drive
Minneapolis, MN 55344
Phone: 952-351-3000
Email: [email protected]

ATK Armament Systems
938 University Park Boulevard
Clearfield, UT 84015
Phone: 801-779-4600

Pelham, Alabama
ATK Integrated Weapon Systems
301-D Cahaba Valley Pkwy North
Pelham, AL 35124
Phone: 205-451-4232

Mesa, Arizona
ATK Integrated Weapon Systems
3309 North Reseda Circle
Mesa, AZ 85215
Phone: 480-324-8600

Federal Express Address
2832 N. Omaha
Mesa, AZ 85215

Elk River, Minnesota
ATK Advanced Weapons
ATK Proving Ground 23100 Sugar Bush Road Northwest
Elk River, MN 55330
Phone: 763-441-1492

Plymouth, Minnesota
ATK Advanced Weapons
4700 Nathan Lane
Plymouth, MN 55442
Phone: 763-744-5312

Socorro, New Mexico
ATK Advanced Weapons
NMIMT-EMRTC Industrial Park
Delta & Bravo Road
Socorro, NM 87801
Phone: 575-835-5803

Related Articles:

Elbit Systems and ATK Developing Laser-Guided Advanced Tactical Rocket (GATR-L)

APKWS II Precision-Guided Hydra Rockets: Here Comes ‘HELLFIRE Jr.’

Raytheon/EAI Laser-Guided 2.75-inch/70mm Hydra Rocket

Fury and CAMCOPTER S-100 UAS/UAVs Armed with Lightweight Multirole Missile (LMM)

Northrop Grumman/ATK VENOM Targeting Pod Armed with 6-Round GATR-L Tactical Precision-Guided (Laser-Guided) 2.75″/70mm Hydra Rocket Pod for Military Special Operations (SPECOPS) by

About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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