A new robotic operated countermeasures designed to disable Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from long distance are in development in Israel at Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. According to Ram Fabian, director of Rafael’s Land Warfare Systems, The micro-rocket system called ‘Pincher’ is currently in prototype phase, and could become operational next year. Pincher uses ‘pencil size’ rockets capable of destroying explosive charges from extended range. “The rocket causes the charge to burn, instead of explode (a process called ‘deflagration’), eliminating the risk of blast, shrapnel and debris.” Fabian told Defense Update.
Rafael’s Pincher system comprises a miniature remotely operated multi-launcher system, which comes integral with a robotic platform, sensors, aiming devices, and remote control.
The eight inch (20 cm) long arrow-shaped rocket has a miniature rocket motor and stabilizing fins. Unlike kinetic projectiles fired from a gun, the arrow stores enough kinetic energy to fracture the outer envelope of the target, however, its unique pyrophoric material (an incendiary mixture comprising various metal powders such as titanium-boron-Teflon combinations), creates a thermal effect as it combusts in flames at very high temperature instantly as it penetrates the target, burning the explosive compound in a consuming it in a ‘non violent’ process, without causing an explosion.
Israel’s Ministry of Defense Research & Development Directorate has already tested representative miniature arrows for possible use on miniature unmanned ground vehicles. Such mini UGVs could be employed in ‘micro-tactical’ applications, used indoors to seek targets, locate and deactivate IEDs, clearing buildings while avoiding excessive risk to soldiers and innocent human lives.