By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
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July 17, 2012
Wired Danger Room recently published a piece on the Raytheon Small Tactical Munition (STM) mini-precision-guided bomb, a 13.5-pound, 22-inch-long laser-guided bomb/missile/precision-guided munition weighing about a tenth (1/10) the weight of a Lockheed Martin HellFire II missile, the iconic air-to-ground missile. The HellFire, of course, has been used for years to highly-lethal effect against enemy ground targets when fired from General Atomic MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper armed/weaponized UAS/UAV/drones and Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters. The Small Tactical Munition is significantly smaller than the Raytheon Griffon A/B missile, which can be fired from both aerial and ground platforms.
When DefenseReview (DR) came across the Wired story, we immediately looked through our NDIA Special Operations Forces Industry Conference 2012 (SOFIC 2012) photos to see if we'd snapped a photo of the developmental Small Tactical Munition at Raytheon's booth, but it looks like we missed it. We'd prefer to think of this as Raytheon's fault, not ours, that either it wasn't there, or it wasn't featured very prominently, because we somehow managed to photograph pretty much every other important aerial munition and/or aircraft at the show–but the buck stops with us (DR). If it was there, we should have photographed it. Note to the Raytheon PR folks: Look out of journalists and industry shows, because sometimes we miss things. So, please enjoy the embedded generic photo courtesy of Raytheon.
Anyway, the Raytheon STM is interesting due to its combination of the following features:
– lightweight munition package
– high degree of maneuverability
– advanced semi-active laser seeker
– GPS/INS Guidance (Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System Guidance)
The above features enable small UAS/UAVs like the AAI Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TUAS) to carry a host of Small Tactical Munitions to engage multiple moving ground targets from one small aerial platform with truly surgical precision. The U.S. military could conceivably saturate a large area with STM-armed small UAS/UAVs just flying around in a surveillance and/or overwatch capacity either for perpetual security operations or CAS (Close Air Support) for infantry combat teams, including Special Operations Forces (SOF). Based on the size and weight of the STM, it would appear that the weapon is designed for one-shot/one-kill capability against ground vehicles like civilian cars, SUVs and small trucks (pick-up trucks).
Asymmetric warfare is about to get even tougher for the enemy.
Photo Credit: Raytheon
Company Contact Info:
870 Winter Street
Waltham, MA 02451-1449
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