Remote Firing System for “Smokey SAM”

IWT was contracted to design a revolutionary remote firing system for the military’s iconic “Smokey SAM” system. The “Smokey SAM” – GTR-18A (Unguided Surface-to-Air Missile) – has been a staple threat simulator for military exercises, visually simulating the launching of surface-to-air missiles since its development by the Naval Weapons Center in the 1980s. IWT’s solution addresses the challenges faced by traditional Smokey SAM launchers, making military training safer, more efficient, and highly scalable.

The Smokey SAM System and Its Objectives

The Smokey SAM launcher is a complete launch system comprising single and quad-rail launching pads, GTR-18A rockets, and a Fire Control Assembly. Its primary objectives include serving as a threat simulator for military exercises, visually replicating the launch of surface-to-air missiles, and being cost-effective and easy to use in training exercises. However, traditional Smokey SAM launchers have faced several challenges related to personnel proximity, manpower requirements, and scalability.

The Problem

Operating Smokey SAM launchers traditionally required personnel to be in the field and in close proximity to the launchers. Moreover, multiple personnel were needed to operate the launchers effectively, leading to scalability challenges directly linked to increased manpower. These limitations posed risks and inefficiencies during military exercises, hindering the potential for advanced training scenarios.

IWT’s Remote Launch Solution

IWT’s solution addresses the limitations of traditional Smokey SAM launchers by introducing a cutting-edge remote firing system that leverages modern wireless technology. This innovative system consists of various elements that work in unison to enhance the capabilities of the Smokey SAM launcher:

1. Smokey SAM Repeater

The Smokey SAM Repeater is equipped with a rugged, outdoor enclosure and operates in the ISM band (902-928 MHz). It ensures encrypted communication, providing secure and reliable data transmission.

2. Smokey SAM Interface Module

The Interface Module connects the Smokey SAM Repeater to the launcher and facilitates seamless integration and control.

3. Smokey SAM USB Radio

The USB Radio shares the same radio board as the repeater and is powered via USB. It features an SMA Antenna connector and acts as an exfiltration point for mesh units while interfacing with the Smokey SAM GUI.

4. Smokey SAM System Controller

The System Controller is a rugged laptop running a Windows-based Smokey SAM GUI application. It powers the Smokey SAM USB Radio, streamlining the firing process.

5. Smokey SAM GUI

The Smokey SAM GUI is a standalone Windows application offering a map-based interface, virtual fire control, and data parsing from the USB radio. It provides device status and control, along with redundant fire safeguards for enhanced safety.

6. Smokey SAM Launcher

The revamped Smokey SAM Launcher boasts a 4-rail rocket launcher, electronics and battery enclosure, control cable, solenoid, and ignitor tubes, making it highly efficient and user-friendly.

Features and Benefits of IWT’s Solution

The IWT remote firing system for Smokey SAM comes with a host of features and benefits that revolutionize military training and exercises:


1. Networked System: The launchers are networked for scalability, allowing the integration of multiple units seamlessly.

2. Situational Awareness: Embedded GPS in all remote units provides real-time situational awareness for precise control.

3. Safety Measures: Hardware and software protections against misfires minimize risks during exercises.

4. Rugged Packaging: The system’s rugged design ensures reliable performance in various environmental conditions.

5. Rechargeable Batteries: Internal rechargeable batteries make the system cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

6. Two-Way Communication: The system supports two-way, ad-hoc radio communications, enabling efficient coordination.

7. User-Friendly Interface: The Smokey SAM GUI offers an easy-to-use dashboard and display, simplifying operations for personnel.


1. Force Multiplier: The remote firing system serves as a force multiplier for exercises and simulation personnel, reducing the need for extensive manpower.

2. Enhanced Safety: Personnel can now launch rockets remotely, minimizing the risks associated with traditional methods.

3. Infrastructure Flexibility: The system does not require pre-installed infrastructure, as all radios mesh and extend the network as needed.

4. Improved Training Scenarios: Scripted scenarios and increased covertness enhance training effectiveness and realism.

IWT’s Remote Firing System for Smokey SAM represents a significant leap in military training technology. By allowing remote operation, enhancing safety, and providing scalable options, this innovative solution revolutionizes military exercises and paves the way for advanced training scenarios. With IWT’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of wireless technology, the future of military training is brighter than ever before.