An old colleague of mine told that he'd once worked on a guided mortar project - he was a SW guy.

The idea was that in the days (70's) when NATO expected an invasion of lots of tanks from eastern Europe, they'd have a countermeasure.

This gadget was launched from a tube as usual, get to a couple of miles up, then pop out some guidance fins and a heat seeker, and home in.

The hardware problems were significant - there's a lot of G on the launch.

He went to the initial trials, on Salisbury plain. The military had a very old tank, radio guided, trundling along as a target.

They launched 2.

Both went , with perfect accuracy, down the chimney of a house adjoining the site.

Fortunately they had dummy warheads.

He laid on the grass and laughed himself sick.

The top brass walked off in a huff, as did the management.

The project was cancelled.

Ho Humm


Ah yes, like the "smart" decoy flare that was supposed to share some of the launch aircraft's forward velocity (normal flares are ejected sideways, which a half-smart heat-seeking missile could immediately reject as a legitimate target because such a manoeuvre would be impossible for an aircraft), but instead overtook the launch aircraft, no doubt inducing an expensive g-suit trouser accident for the pilot.

There's also the tale of Prof. Kevin Warwick, who announced he was going to run the first half-marathon with a robot companion.
The robot was equipped with heat-sensors and was supposed to track a significant heat-source, like the good professor.
The device had never been tested outside the lab, and, on the morning of the race, the device was switched on in the car park near the start.
It immediately latched onto the best heat source, and set off towards it.
Sadly, it was never going to achieve escape velocity, or manage the 150 million kilometres to the source, and it hit a kerb and wrecked itself on the far side of the car park.

an expensive g-suit trouser accident for the pilot.

I had such an incident when when the swinging arm on the M/C I was racing broke at Mallory park....

well, trouser my browns

I'm still here