…And The Strength Of The Wolf Is The Pack

The MMR-144 Parasol rockets launcher.

No, it’s not a rocket launcher. It’s a rockets launcher.

That’s because the MMR-144 fires a single unguided projectile which acts as a bus for twelve smart missiles, which deploy at the apex of its trajectory and hunt target areas according to their programmed profiles.

Yes, we said target areas. Upon reaching terminal guidance, each smart missile separates into another twelve penetrating guided warheads, each capable of seeking out and mission-killing an independent target, for a sky-darkening total of one hundred and forty-four kills per firing.

The MMR-144 Parasol rockets launcher. For when you really want to throw some shade.

– from an Eye-in-the-Flame Arms interactive advertisement


11 thoughts on “…And The Strength Of The Wolf Is The Pack

  1. Is it (light or heavy) infantry-portable, or vehicle-mounted? And are the intended targets infantry or vehicles or either?

    • Technically it’s a light infantry-portable weapon, but one should bear in mind that even the light infantry are wearing power-assisted armor these days, and the loads are big enough you’re not going to be carrying a lot of them even so – not that you should need ’em, per below.

      On the latter point, this is where the Eye-in-the-Flame sales rep grins and shows you to their extensive selection of creative warheads… which can scale from infantry-company-raking flechette-bursts to, say, this sort of thing.

      (This is, after all, an Eye-in-the-Flame design, a company who if you recall follow the design policy of keeping their research staff high as hell on assorted noötropics and comic books, then building whatever they dream up. “Overpowered weird shit” makes up the entirety of their catalog.)

        • (As a side note, one of those areas is encouraging squishies from other societies to surrender, which they’re more likely to do to a soph in a suit than they are a spiky-assed killing machine.

          I mean, sure, the latter is also a person who drinks coffee in the mornings and goes home at the weekends to kiss his wife and play with his children, but it’s hard to get that across to the average outworlder squishie. All they see is DEATHBOT 6000.)

  2. What, no “trope of the day: macross missile massacre”?

    I wonder at what point battlefield rocketry goes the way of the trebuchet. You’ve got some pretty sharp performance limits in terms of initial accelleration (eg. do you want the launcher and its surroundings to survive) and there are some limits on the maximum speed of a smart, warhead-bearing projectile compared to, say, a solid slug of metal which will take longer to disintegrate when it is pushed past its yield strength.

    Guidance sounds like something you need when you’re moving so slowly that your targets can evade you. Makes sense in space, less so when you’re on a dinky little planet. If you need terminal guidance because you’re not entirely sure where your target is at the point of launch, you’re probably spending too long in the air and risk being deflected or destroyed, no?

    I’d be keener on something that basically lobbed a bucketful of one-shot self-targetting railguns. More of an evolution of the shrapnel and beehive rounds than of rockets, though.

    • Trouble with amping the velocity up too high is that you get major ablation due to air compression and friction, and you can get strange terminal effects. (This is why “grain of sand at mach 50” guns might work in a vacuum but not in atmosphere, for example.)

      So, terminal guidance can still be useful in those cases where you need a specific payload.

      • I’m aware of the issues; that’s why I specifically mentioned yield strengths.

        A grain of sand at mach 50 isn’t much use in an atmosphere, sure. A refractory needle at mach 10 would seem to be eminently practical, however, even before you use a laser or particle beam to create a low-pressure path for your projectile (which it wouldn’t be able to manoever out of, so guidance wouldn’t be very useful).

        That does give something at ground-level on an earth-sized world about a second or two between the trigger being pulled and its brains being smashed out, which might well be enough time to evade or intercept. That’s why I went on to suggest something that fired single shot railguns (or projectile weapon technology of your choice); those sub-weapons can be activated much closer to the target, giving a much reduced time to evade, or the ability to shoot from behind cover (which might in turn make it much harder to spot or intercept the gun-bus before deployment, etc).

        Also, now I have a think about it, guided weapons in an atmosphere have a maximum speed before they’re wholly or partially blinded by their own plasma sheath. You could get it to turn a corner, but following a target is a much harder proposition. Anything bumbling around at a mere mach 5 is very much at risk of meeting aforementioned mach 10 gunfire.

        • It’s not the speed of the projectile, it’s the reaction and slew times of the PD. (Plasers usually win that one.)

          And in any case: this is what the penaids and decoys are for – but an extended discussion of the future battlefield’s in-flight battles, both physical and cyber, between competing hive minds of tactically-networked brilliant bullets is perhaps a little long for this comment.

          (Also, to note, plasma sheaths do not blind all sensor types, are they certainly don’t blind uplinks.)

          • There are sensors and communication systems that can get through plasma sheaths, but they tend to be either inherently low bandwidth, or are quite power-hungry (which is bad for communication and very bad for active sensors).

            You could remote-control a hypervelocity missile as it flies away from you, because you can use a larger and/or more powerful communication system that you might be able to fit in the projectile. Also, for signals that require an external (or near-external) antenna, the receiver can be at the back of the missile, away from the worst of the compression heat. Active sensors at the front of the moving object have a substantially more difficult time in all respects. What sort of things were you thinking of?

            (there are some related questions here, about the properties of your thermal superconductor(s) and the general availability/cost of those and muonic metals, but that’s a topic for another time)

    • On warhead types, I will merely point out the length (long) of my list of types of specialized sluggun ammunition other than APSC that exists for tasks that can’t be done by simply applying localized kinetic energy to the problem.

      You primarily need terminal guidance on your MIWs because you’re trying to mission-kill dodecen targets with one shot, and you can’t do that with unguided weaponry. (And you want to do it in one shot because firing is basically sending out an engraved invitation to counterbattery fire with your name on it, and shoot-and-scoot takes time you may not have.)

      But if your problem statement, to pick one example, is that there’s an entire army across the valley and you want to whack the couple of dozen guys among them with the shiny brass hats wherever they happen to be, then it’s mighty convenient to be able to loft a bunch of “brilliant bullets” with sniffers, penaids, and decoys into the battlespace all in one go and wish ’em good hunting.

      Not that you couldn’t build your proposed “hedgehog” variant of canister shot, and someone probably has. But there are plenty of reasons why it ain’t a one-size tactical solution.

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