Machine Design

U.S. tests smallest guided missile

Engineers at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, Calif., are finishing flight tests on Spike, a 5.3-lb guided missile that measures 25-in. long and 2.25 in. in diameter.

A guided Spike missile hits its truck target at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, Calif.

That makes it the world's smallest "fire-and-forget" missile. It has a range of at least 2,000 m and is effective against such targets as small boats, helicopters, bunkers, machine gun nests, and small armored vehicles. The missile warhead focuses its explosive energy to generate minimum collateral damage. It can be fired by a soldier from a shoulder launcher or from an unmanned vehicle. To keep costs down, the missile uses a variety of off-the-shelf components. Currently, it is estimated to cost $5,000 or less.

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