Feeds

Israelis offer unmanned robo smart-missile 8-pack

Tanks? Artillery? Airstrikes? So 20th century

Application security programs and practises

Israel appears to have stolen a march on America in the matter of multipack unmanned cruise missile-in-a-box packages. An Israeli maker is exhibiting its "Jumper" robo missile pack as ready for sale, while the rival US "Netfires" system is still in development.

The Jumper missile system. Credit: IAI

Gunners? Mortars? Close Air? How quaint

The idea of such weapons is simple. A large box (looks like a festival toilet to us) contains several vertically-launched missiles, along with its own communications and power. It's generally light enough to be driven about by a Humvee or similar, parachuted down from a transport plane, dropped off by helicopter, tied down on the deck of a ship or barge etc. It needs no crew in operation.

Once the box is in place, it awaits orders. A soldier far off, or an aircraft or UAV, can mark a target using map coordinates - and light it up with a laser pointer for extra precision if required. As soon as firing authority is given - perhaps by a remote command post, or by the commander on the ground - a missile leaps up out of the box and flies to the designated coordinates using GPS satnav and inertial navigation.

On arrival, it plunges out of the sky and strikes as precisely as a smart bomb - even hitting moving targets if laser pointing is available. Scratch one tank, pickup truck, building or whatever.

So far, so blah - anyone with air or modern artillery support can do this already.

But that's the point, in fact. Keeping aircraft overhead - even unmanned ones - costs a lot of money and ties up a lot of people. Having a battery of guns or normal bombardment rockets to hand is even worse: more people, on the ground this time, and all the ammo and fuel etc has to be shipped all the way into the field.

With things like Jumper or the American Netfires/Non Line Of Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS), you might not need mortar platoons, artillery regiments and strike air nearly so much. And with any soldier packing a targeting laser able to knock out tanks by the dozen, you might not bother with them so much either.

In short, if smart-missile multipack boxes catch on, there could be a serious change to the way armed forces are organised. They'd contain, potentially, a lot more combat troops, as the business of providing fire support would be automated and becomes merely an offshoot of logistics - moving boxes about.

Until now, the main visible contender in the field was the slowly-gestating NLOS-LS. But yesterday Israel Aerospace Industries announced that Jumper is ready to go. IAI say their box holds 8 missiles as opposed to the NLOS-LS' 15*. Jumper is said to offer range of 50km, "several possible warheads", "pinpoint accuracy and short time of flight ... regardless of weather and visibility".

It'll be interesting to see how all this pans out. ®

Bootnote

*It's no coincidence that both systems hold one less than a square number: the comms and power gear fits into the space occupied by a single missile cell.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.