In the arms race between local terrorist groups in Iraq and the US occupying forces, things just got more complicated with the development of the "improvised rocket-assisted mortar." Essentially it's IED 2.0, the next step in homebrew explosives that militant groups use against US forces. Though the IRAMs aren't being used widely yet, what's scary about them is that they're mobile, have really bad aim, and pack a punch that's considerably bigger than a conventional rocket. And in many ways, they're weapons of the future.According to a UPI report on Space War:
The IRAM is . . . in essence . . . a flying IED. It consists of a canister — either a propane tank or cylinder — packed with explosives attached to a rocket tube (body) and powered by a 107mm rocket motor. Each IRAM carries more than 100 pounds of high explosive. In contrast, a conventional 107mm rocket carries only 3 pounds. The device is placed on rocket rails, which can be angled for distance, and fired at its target by a timing device, military officers said. The rails are placed on the back of a low-sided flatbed cargo truck, usually a Bongo, which is ever-present in Baghdad. The truck is parked and angled toward the target, and the devices (usually four or more in succession) are launched using delayed timers. Aiming is directional, a sort of line-of-sight lob over the cab of the truck or over the side. Distance is about 300 to 500 meters, according to Maj. Geoff Greene, executive officer of the 1st (combined Arms) Battalion of the 68 Armor Regiment.
In a June incident, an IRAM accidentally went off in a civilian area, killing 16 and injuring 29 others. So far, no US military have been killed by IRAMs. I said earlier the IRAM is a weapon of the future because it's looking like the terrorist model of warfare is going to be with us for a long time to come. That means you'll have organized state forces going up against people who are fighting with little formal training using whatever devices they can. It probably won't be long before we see guided IRAMs — just attach the whole thing to a remote-controlled plane that can carry the weight and you're set. Airborne IED Gets Attention [Space War]