More military transformation. Right before our eyes.
Responding to an urgent request from warfighters, Lockheed Martin expanded the capabilities of its Predator anti-tank weapon and delivered 400 rounds to the U.S. Marine Corps.
The U.S. Marine Corps requested Lockheed Martin to modify the shoulder- fired, short-range Predator anti-tank weapon into a direct-attack urban assault weapon. Renamed the Short-Range Assault Weapon-Multiple Purpose Variant (SRAW-MPV), the new urban assault missile has a multiple-purpose blast warhead, enabling it to defeat a variety of targets such as buildings and bunkers, as well as light-armored vehicles.
Don’t confuse this with missiles fired from the Predator UAV. Those on the receiving end, though, won’t care that if it’s the same or different.
Lockheed Martin previously delivered 344 Predator rounds under a Low-Rate Initial Production-I contract. Both the Predator and SRAW-MPV weapons are fully man-rated (all qualification, safety certification and gunner hazard tests are complete, any limitations on the use of the weapon are quantified and documented, and the weapon is tested as safe to fire within the defined limitations) — ready to deploy.
The U.S. Army is evaluating options for upgrading its urban assault weapon capabilities for fire from enclosure and improved performance over the next few years, and SRAW-MPV, in its current configuration, will meet most of these upgrade requirements. U.S. allies also have urban warfare requirements that SRAW-MPV will meet.
Something tells me the Marines will be on to the next generation of this bad boy before their evaluations complete. Maybe, assuming it’s effective in Iraq, the usage by the Marines will speed things along a bit.