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Predator
American anti-tank missile. In engineering and manufacturing development.

AKA: SRAW MK 40. Gross mass: 6.40 kg (14.10 lb). Height: 0.70 m (2.30 ft). Diameter: 0.14 m (0.45 ft).

Historical Essay © Andreas Parsch

Lockheed Martin Predator SRAW MK 40

The SRAW (Short-Range Assault Weapon) program was begun by the U.S Marine Corps in 1987 as a replacement for existing unguided anti-armour rockets like the M72 LAW (Light Anti-Armour Weapon) and the M136 AT4. Between February 1990 and mid-1993, a demonstration/validation phase was conducted by several competing companies, with the first test firings occuring in 1991. In July 1994, the Predator design of Loral (now Lockheed Martin) was selected for the EMD (Engineering and Manufacturing Development) phase.

The Predator SRAW is a small solid-fueled rocket powered missile, which is manually aimed and fired from an expendable shoulder launcher. The complete ready-to-fire system including missile and launcher weighs only 9.7 kg (21.4 lb). The motor is a "soft-launch" rocket with a low initial thrust, so that the weapon can be safely fired from enclosed positions. The Predator is a fire-and-forget missile which can be used at ranges between 17 m (55 ft) and 600 m (2000 ft) against stationary and moving targets. During aiming, the Predator's inertial reference autopilot detects the angular motion of the target, and during flight the autopilot directs the missile to a position above the predicted target location. The SRAW is armed with a downward-firing top-attack warhead (very similar to the BGM-71F TOW 2B), which is activated by a dual-sensor (laser & magnetic) fuze in the missile's nose.

EMD Phase I (Risk Reduction) was completed in March 1998, and was followed by Phase II (System Evaluation). In January 2002, Lockheed Martin was awarded the first LRIP (Low-Rate Initial Production) contract for Predator, followed by a second one in January 2003. During EMD, a total of about 230 Predator missiles were built, and the two current LRIP contracts cover the production of 730 rounds. SRAW will be a low-cost complement to the larger and more sophisticated FGM-148 Javelin anti-armour missile.

The U.S. Army evaluated a derivative of the Predator SRAW with a multipurpose warhead for its MPIM (Multipurpose Individual Munition) requirement. A variant named Kestrel, with a direct-attack warhead, was unsuccessfully entered in the UK's NLAW (Next Generation Light Anti-Armour) competition.

Designation Note: The Predator should have received an FGM-nnn guided missile designation, but the official Marine Corps nomenclature is SRAW MK 40 MOD 0.

Specifications

Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for SRAW MK 40 MOD 0 (missile without launcher):

Length 70.5 cm (27.8 in)
Diameter 14 cm (5.5 in)
Weight 6.4 kg (14.1 lb)
Speed 900 km/h (560 mph)
Range 600 m (2000 ft)
Propulsion Dual-thrust solid-fueled rocket
Warhead Downward-firing EFP (Explosive Formed Projectile)
Main Sources

[1] Hajime Ozu: "Missile 2000 - Reference Guide to World Missile Systems", Shinkigensha, 2000
[2] Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Website
[3] GlobalSecurity.org Website
[4] Army Technology Website: "Predator/Kestrel Light Anti-Armour Missile", Net Resources International Ltd.




Country: USA. Agency: Lockheed Martin Electronics & Missiles.

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