Resurrected Weapons: AGM-124 Wasp

The cold war ended before a lot of nifty weapons could get into production. Like many of them, the AGM-124 Wasp was intended to kill Soviet tank forces and reduce the margin of superiority that the Red Army enjoyed. In addition to never throwing anything away (like that crazy relative you have), the Soviets tended to attack in echelons. Since they had numerical superiority (admittedly, partially due to having a ton of old stuff lying around), they could attack in a broad front, and then have another broad front waiting to hit you again, and they still had reserves to throw at you. NATO’s plan was to counter asymmetrically, and they had a wide variety of projects under way in the 80s. The American ones were known under the umbrella “Assault breaker,” and one of them is going to get looked at here.

The AGM-124 Wasp was intended to be used in a swarm. Beat numbers with numbers. It was a small, lightweight missile, to be carried in big pods beneath ground attack aircraft and lobbed in an area en masse. From there, the Wasp’s millimeter wave radar seeker would take over, hunting down targets and destroying them. Data is spotty; I’m not sure if it had a tandem warhead or not, or if the idea was to hit the Russian tanks with enough missiles so as to not have to care about whatever ERA the Russians had mounted. Also, in the 80s, fewer Soviet tanks had ERA mounted.

What do we think of this weapon now? If anything, it’s an even better idea. Modern sensors being what they are, millimeter wave seekers and tandem shaped charges are a bit cheaper, and avionics have improved to where feeding data on a target area is a lot easier. Preprogrammed target data wouldn’t be needed to the extent that it would in the 80s. If made today, the Wasp would be a cheaper, spammable version of Brimstone, and that’d be awesome. I’d probably go for a tandem warhead, but don’t need to go too fancy with these. Keep it simple. Keep it cheap. Load them up in pods under your multirole aircraft of choice and let fly against staging areas. This is probably well beyond the usual “Yes, buy” sort of thing and into the “Shut up and take my money” realm. At least if you’re worried about enemy armor.

…are you not?

Verdict: Approved by Borgundy War Department Procurement Board

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