I have just filed a UK patent on a novel application of existing technology: very short range ballistic missiles fired from an array of vertical launch tubes with terminal guidance. Instead of waiting for the patent to be granted, I'm asking around on Arrse what you all think of it because as an individual with limited resources and no munitions factory I don't have a good chance of making this without an industrial partner, so I might as well share this idea and get feedback on it while I look for one. I believe a capability gap exists where forward bases at present are unable to provide rapid & precise fire support to nearby dismounted or mounted patrols. The only HE weapons a forward base might have are 40mm GMGs, mortars, shoulder launched rockets or possibly, howitzers. 40mm GMGs are still direct fire, unguided weapons; the rounds themselves have a small lethal radius. Mortars fire (usu. unguided) shells one at a time, require a crew of 3 (for the L16), have a limited range (5.7km for the L16) and require time to aim impacts near the enemy (for the L16: probably out of the question if the enemy is within 75m of friendly forces). Mortars and howitzers do not have response capability in a 360 degree azimuth and require time to re-aim, e.g. for targets behind them. Shoulder launched rockets are again direct fire with a limited effective range. It seems that immediate 360 degree coverage at ranges under 30km (c.f. JDAM 28km, JDAM-ER 80km) can be achieved by a series of vertical launch tubes firing missiles into the air from forward bases and using free fall and aerodynamic surfaces with GPS to guide the warheads to their intended target. JDAM kits reportedly cost about USD$10k, which I expect to be the bulk of the weapon's unit costs. The kits would have to be modified for these smaller missiles with associated costs but I do not expect the technical challenge itself to be insurmountable. The advantage of this system is that many missiles can be fired at once, no crew is required to operate the system in the forward base (launch commands can be received from soldiers on patrol), spent tubes can be reloaded and left alone, large amounts of precise firepower is made available to patrols within reach of bases and isolated forward bases now have the ability to provide fire support to patrols. What do you all think of the idea?