back to article New pocket-sized smartbomb - just for killer robots

US weaponry megacorp Raytheon says it has successfully tested a new, pocket-sized smartbomb specifically designed for use by killer robots. The weapon has been rather prosaically dubbed Small Tactical Munition (STM). STM is a 13-pound guided bomb that is approximately 2 feet long, according to Raytheon. Two of the little …


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  1. jake Silver badge

    "Collateral damage from these missions is causing a lot of anger in Pakistan"

    I'm not surprised.

    Some of us follow the "live & let live" philosophy that The Buddah, Jesus & Mohamed (and late-to-the-party Gandhi) tried to get across to TheGreatUnwashed[tm].

    Unfortunately, governments world-wide don't subscribe to that point of view. Alas.

    Me, I have the option of voting. And I do. I suggest anyone reading this does, too.

    1. Gordon Pryra
      IT Angle


      "Me, I have the option of voting. And I do. I suggest anyone reading this does, too."


      Which of the (real*) party's available to give your vote to subscribe to that philosophy?

    2. Master Baker
      Thumb Down

      "live and let live... Mohammed..... really??"

      I can understand the other prophets you mention but Mohammed.... live and let live?? Is this the same Mohammed who was actually a warlord who made his fortune (and financed his power-base) by robbing and murdering merchants? Is this the same chap who actually wrote down in his "Holy" book (that millions, if not billions of backward-folks follow) to "Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them", and also wrote that the only sure way to get into paradise (with virgin ladies and little boys) was to slay and be slain in the name of Allah??? And that in order to prove a rape, a women needs to have 4 witnesses which has led to the persecution of Islamic women around the globe (including this very sad tale from the beeb (2008) where a 13 year old rape victim was stoned to death using good old'e Mohammed's Sharia law :

      Or are you talking about someone else?

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Religious intolerance and misinterpretation.

        'Is this the same chap who actually wrote ... to "Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them"'

        I am not a Muslim (nor a follower of any religion), but it is taking passages such as this in ALL religious texts out of context which has cause so much war and death throughout the world. I do not have time to research this fully, but I hope someone who actually knows the Qu'ran comes on here to explain the context.

        Take a passage from the King James version of the Bible, for instance.

        Numbers 31:17-18

        "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

        This appears to be advocating killing women and male children, and raping little girls. Does the bible really say this is OK? No, when taken as a whole, the Bible, and most other religious texts prohibit murder and rape.

        Yes, there are some in EVERY religion who use it as an excuse to be dicks to each other, but that does not make the religion bad. It makes people bad, and we know this already.

        So sod off with your intolerant, ill-informed view of the Islamic faith! It is people like you who take things to extremes and perpetuate wars, hatred, persecution and misery throughout the centuries!

        1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

          For the record...

          Numbers 31:17-18

          Which _part_ of the bible did that come from?

          (Hint: it's the part that is common to ALL people of the book)

          There is a DIFFERENCE in THEORY between what buddha and jesus taught and what Mohammad thought, although us being humans, it still doesn't bear out in practice.

          Geert Wilders is a VERY DANGEROUS man, but not everything he says is a crock of shite.

        2. Bounty

          religion is so last millennium

          Numbers 31:17-18

          This appears to be advocating killing women and male children, and raping little girls. Does the bible really say this is OK?

          Yes, that's exactly what is says. God wanted vengance, and as long as you think god wants you to kill people it's ok!

      2. PatrickE

        Masta Bater let's loose, shoots wide

        Hey Masta Bater stop dissing my belief system - especially since you know f-all other than what your bigotry allows. Poor lad.

        Mohammad was not a warlord. He had a fortune prior to teaching/passing on the mesage of Islam. Once he started his 'mission' he ended up spending or giving it all away. He lived poor and died that way. He allowed the Muslims to hijack caravans of Meccan merchants - the same people who had abused, killed and stolen from Muslims. It was a 'strategy of war'. However, he also gave back goods when asked, on a number of occasions. Despite the major differences between him and the Meccans (including his relatives), despite their then disbelief in his message, they still titled him "The Truthful" because even his enemies never knew him to lie. Read a Seerah (biography) of the Prophet.

        With respect to : "wrote down in his "Holy" book (that millions, if not billions of backward-folks follow) to "Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them",". What a load of bollocks. Perhaps you are refering to Ch 2 v 291. Please read for more context. I've seen these verses used to suggest, by non-Muslims, to mean go out and kill Christians. Stupid. All verses along these lines refer to the Munafiq (hypocrites) and Mushrik (polytheists) who oppressed and fought the Muslims, even under a treaty. Muslims are allowed to fight back unless/until the other sues for peace. The Quran then says the Muslims would be transgressors if they continue to fight after that. Muhammad couldn't read/write BTW. If you have any problems with this, please feel free to quote and reference chapter and verse.

        All Muslims expect/hope to go to paradise. The (hoor-a-leen), "fair, wide-eyed maidens" are a pretty good added bonus. The little boys you mentioned are akin to cherubim, nothing sexual, you dirty little k****-fiddler you. Slaying and being slain are not a requirement. Do you honestly think the majority or even minority of Muslims go about killing people?

        Your understanding of 4 witnesses is similarly incorrect. If anyone accuses a woman of adultery then they are required to produce 4 witnesses to the act of intercourse itself and if they cannot, then the accuser is considered a liar and should be lashed and his/her witness cannot be accepted in a court again. "And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses - lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after. And those are the defiantly disobedient,".

        Your last example regarding the girl; I won't comment as I don't know the case but - I feel it is terribly wrong to apply law in that manner. The Shari approach and the last part of the quote above is "And the fifth [oath will be] that the curse of Allah be upon him if he should be among the liars.". In a dispute, both parties can invoke a vow that they are telling the truth and the other party is lying - then the court is required to free them, since Allah knows the truth between them. Sharia is not just about punishment but contracts, child support, etc etc - think all of Brit statute law.

        Finally, I may be wrong. No deity but I live my life in an ethical, moral way and when I die - nothing. No better or worse off. Or I'm right, in which case a couple of "hoor-a-leen" and cool condo in paradise. For you M Bater, you need option 1 to be right :)

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Masta Bater let's loose, shoots wide

          I think we can all agree the world would be a much better place if more people got eighty lashes for more of the shit they do.

          I also think we should wrap this up pretty soon, don't you?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Wrapping up ...

            The more varied the ideology of any group engaged in conversation, the more likely that said conversation will end in fisticuffs ...

            Why is it that all religions profess a love of humanity, but then prove in day-to-day life that they actually hate everyone who doesn't think exactly like them?

            This goes beyond hypocrisy ... it's actually pathological.

            It's also very, very sad. And quite scary ... especially on the world stage.

            There is a reason the USA's founding fathers specified a separation of church and state ... and equally, there is a reason that "church" has tried to keep control of "state".

            Such a waste of resources, and lives, over the centuries. Politicians & religious leaders should be very, very ashamed of themselves.

  2. Paul_Murphy


    Death from above goodness - what a nice safe world we live in, I can't wait for the next chapter.



    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      And another hooray!

      for just another innovative way of killing people. How smart!

    2. William Towle

      Re: Hooray!

      > ROTM...


      <checks> ...just not yet :(

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        BOFH. Q_Q

        I keep saying El Reg needs a subscription option that allows us see the site ad-free. (Similar to how Ars does it.) It would be equally cool if it included some sort of "voluntairily pay more money towards a 'convince Simon to write more BOFH articles' option."

        Or pretty much anything that encourages the production of more BOFH articles. To we need some old VAXen, skulls, entrails and the sacrifice of a sacred IBM Model M? Whatever it takes...just moar BOFH!

  3. Steve X

    Pocket sized smartbombs?

    But what if the Killer Robots don't have pockets? Will they have to carry the smartbombs in their handbags instead?

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

      Something for the

      Simon and the PFY perhaps?

  4. Desk Jockey

    Just the ticket

    Although at two feet long, that is a big pocket!

    I am guessing the STMs have no propulsion? They would just rely on being dropped off a UAV and then using gravity and their guidance package to reach the target. A bit like any other bomb really although I think Hellfires had their own propulsion capabilities.

    Surely Raytheon just pinched the design from their anti-tank column bomb, exposed by Tom Clancy with the amusing name of 'smartpig'? One big bomb that scattered self guiding bomblets above any enemy tanks thus immolating the enemy's superiority in tank numbers. Pinch a load of those bomblets, hang a bunch of them off Reapers and go Taliban hunting!

    Couldn't they have done the same thing with laser guided mortars, a cunning British invention? Thus they would not have had to spend money inventing something new... Oh wait!

  5. Rogerborg

    Instead of taking out the whole wedding party

    Now we can just take out the bride and groom. SCIENCE!

    Incidentally, what's the etymology of "warfighter"? When did some Haliburton PR bunny decide that "soldier" is soooo 20th century, dahling, and "warfighter" feels much more satisfying in the mouth?

    Dibs on "conflicteffectuator".

    1. Yesnomaybe

      I guess... don't have to be a soldier to operate a remote-control drone (Flyboy), but you'd still be taking part in the war, so: Warfighter. Simples.

    2. bobbles31

      I guess it all sarteted when....

      they started advertising jobs as drone pilots to civillains. No basic training needed just a desire to kill people.

  6. Yesnomaybe


    I think they could make them even smaller. And whilst they are at it, why not equip the drone with a .50 sniper rifle also. Even more "surgical" (If you can really use that term for killing people).

    And smaller weapons could in turn lead to smaller/cheaper drones.

    1. Wommit
      Paris Hilton

      Re : Yesnomaybe

      "Even more "surgical" (If you can really use that term for killing people)."

      Ever been in an NHS hospital?

    2. ian 22


      A suicide bomber carries just the weight of one of these bomblets. The result is hardly surgical.

      Oh wait, all of those dead people were targets! So all right then.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    this be led off course by a laser pointer?

    1. Jess--

      Probably not

      I doubt its as simple as a static laser dot (which is more likely to be infra-red than visible)

      My guess is that the laser would be modulated or pulsed with a unique signature, a bomb would then lock on to that unique signature and target that individual dot. (or that dots last known location if it has vanished)

      this allows for lots of dots to be used to target multiple weapons at multiple targets and reduces the chances of interference

      given the choice I would go for a pulse driven laser (where the on-off pattern gives the unique signature) simply because a pulse driven laser can be driven with higher power than one that is constantly on, this would give the advantages of either longer range or higher intensity, longer range being an advantage for the person / machine aiming the laser and higher intensity being an advantage for the weapon trying to home in on the lasers dot

  8. Smith

    Collateral damage ?!

    ..Collateral damage from these missions is causing a lot of anger in Pakistan.


    I suspect they are not pissed off because of collateral damage inflicted, but by the whole idea that a foreign power they fear and hate keeps killing their fellow tribesmen...

    1. PirateSlayer


      You're right Agent Smith, the tribesmen are just going about their daily business of herding cattle, making fire with flints and generally working the land. There are no RPG toting, hate spewing, fundamentalist, crazed lunatics in the Pakistani badlands. We just pretend there are because we enjoy killing people for no reason.

      Mine's the one with "Protect the Fundies FTW" on the back.

  9. PirateSlayer

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    "it was the CIA which first used a Hellfire-equipped Predator to kill someone, in the Yemen way back in 2002"

    Are you quite sure old chap? It could have been the Gambia, or perhaps Rhodesia or even Greater India where we first boshed those chaps with a hellfire.

  10. Allan George Dyer

    Essential equipment for boring lectures

    "homed in on a laser pointer dot"

  11. Sean Nevin

    Laser pointers

    Laser-guided munitions are steered towards their target with a laser beam yes; however, the guiding laser is modulated, usually at a fixed frequency, and of a specific wavelength. The pointers you can pick up at a store or online are the wrong colour, and continuous wave.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Small enough for home use?

    Maybe they'll certify them for home(land) use, then they won't have to bother with the inconvenience of finding evidence and conducting trials before executing people.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Wedding Party...

    Laser guided bomblets... Mirror Ball... are you thinking what I'm thinking...

    So have the not heard of laser guided mortars then.

  14. S Larti

    Pocket sized...

    and 2 feet long?

    Boasting a bit are we, Lewis?

  15. Count Ludwig

    Shurly I'm not the first to say...

    Mine'h the one with the... (you get the rest)

  16. Anonymous Bastard

    Pocket sized?

    At 13 pounds and 2 feet long it's not exactly like those in Runaway. We can but watch and wait.

  17. Rob

    The Human Race

    The one thing us humans are really good at is finding many various ways and styles to kill each other.

    As one of my lecturers used to say, one of the greatest technological turning point achievements by man is the creation of the machine gun, que the Samuel L Jackson quote from Jackie Brown.

  18. umacf24
    Dead Vulture

    Hunter-Killer Operation = Assassination, Surely?

    Not that I'm necessarily against it, but using the right word helps keep everyone honest.

  19. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

    "[large bombs] cause unnecessary casualties to bystanders"

    ... as opposed to those necessary bystander casualties?

  20. Tom Chiverton 1
    Black Helicopters


    Wouldn't some heavy steel spikes with a few guidance vanes do as good a job, especially when mounted en mass aboard a loitering aerial blimp ?

    Thanks to the Demon for that one :-)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The religious posts

    I thought some insights might muddy the waters even more?

    Bible: it does not claim to be a Holy Book.

    It does claim to be a collection of books spilt into two parts: the Old and the New

    Depending upon one's faith or not as the case may be the Old part might be considered as a story of God in our life and the New part more-or-less ignored.

    Others preferring the New part might be inclined to say that the New part is a necessity because of some obvious failings in the Old part plus the life of someone with incredible influence about - oh - 2,000 years ago.

    And some again choose to ignore or not bother with any part Old, New or anything in between.

    Now then, for the smart canister. Could it selectively do stuff at various heights in a way that maximises/minimises damage around the intended target? And what might be the maximal damage setting for aerial explosion?

  22. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    And let's not forget the *best* thing about this gadet.

    It should be *so* much cheaper than a Hellfire (smaller warhead, no propulsion, common-ish guidance package).

    So neat, you'll want to use them more often.....

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dubious, maybe bloody corporate psychopaths in control!

    Yes, it can be necessary to take out so 'religious' nutters sometimes, and less collateral damages is always a good thing, the real problem is who controls these devices and whether it is morally justifiable at all, to use them on all the occasions!

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