The bullet and the cannon ball , both invented 400 years ago ! Both going strong ! No real changes there . But why ? Well many answers , they are cheap , and even if one out of ten , hits target , still we are not breaking the Bank
The projectile is thousands of years old... the metal ball or stone has been used for a very long time accelerated by slings and bows and all sorts of things.
In terms of what we view as bullets and cannon balls... the former is much younger than 400 years... 400 year old bullets were just balls of metal, and cannon balls as their name implies were also balls... not very aerodynamic and not very accurate.
The modern elongated projectile used in rifles and heavier guns is an elongated projectile that is stabilised in flight by the introduction of spin to balance it in the direction of flight with gyroscopic forces.
Projectiles are 200 years old or less...
A GPS / laser guided shell costs 200000 USD ! How many unguided shells , do we get for that ? Even if we fire , say ten against a trench , and one goes in ? So it is cheaper , much cheaper , and it can not be jammed or GPS or ground station taken out by ECM .
The Soviet and Russian guided shells are not that expensive and the situations can vary and sometimes dictate what you want to use.
I you are in an attack helicopter and 800m away you see a light vehicle... a Vikhr ATGM is just too much of a weapon to hit what is essentially an SUV.
A single rocket from that range has a good chance of a direct hit or a very near miss on the ground, and if it is an 80mm rocket even a near miss will shred the vehicle with fragments... the helicopter could also fire a short burst of cannon fire with 3-4 rounds doing the same thing.
The problem is that a 800m if that vehicle has a 50 cal HMG then it can inflict damage on you so you really want to be engaging them from further away to be safer for the helicopter.
Th problem is that as the range increases your ability to hit a point target with a single rocket diminishes to the point where at maybe 2km or more you need to fire 4-8 rockets to make sure you get one rocket close enough to kill the target.
2km is still too close if the enemy have 23mm AA guns or even ATGMs.
The laser guided rocket means you can loft the rocket into the air and hit targets at 6-7km which would be a waste of unguided rockets even if you fired the entire pods worth of rockets at a single vehicle target.
The laser guided rocket might cost the same as 8-10 unguided rockets, so they make sense because being able to launch a single rocket at a point target at a distance where most return fire is ineffective is worth the extra money.
Saving some money but having to fire hundreds of rockets and still missing or getting much closer and getting damaged or even shot down is not better either.
Having said that if the target is a large group of enemy troops retreating through a forest... lase the distance to the forest and then fire a volley of rockets into the forest from 6-7km... you wont hit any specific person but rockets are area weapons that fragment and spread death and a volley launched from a distance gives you a good spread of death so you actually get better coverage of the area the enemy are retreating through so in addition to being cheaper they are more effective against area targets or situations where you are not 100% sure where the enemy is... there might be enemy sniper fire coming from the edge of a forest or line of hedges... a spread of rockets along the line will make them bug out and move... or at least stop firing for a few seconds why your troops move from cover to cover.
There was a video shown recently of M777 vehicles being set up to fire... a Russian drone filming that dropped a bomb and they packed up and moved... the Russian drone didn't have enough bombs to kill enough enemy troops to make a difference, but if forced them to bug out and move down the road to a forest to hide in... while they were moving the Russians clearly had time to set up an artillery battery to shell them... the video stopped when the first volley of rounds landed beside the forest, but the drone continued to operate so corrections of fire would be calculate and that Russian battery would have pounded that forest for some time.
This highlights that drones are useful, but are not replacements for attack aircraft they are the eyes that make artillery and air attacks more effective.
The UAV brain- washed people , a consequence of UAV success against sandal wearing terrorists , in the 90's and later by the western forces , just note the fail of large and slow UAV , like Turkish Bayragdar ( Persian =flag- bearer ) in Ukraine by Russia AD .
And the enormous body count of bystanders in these American attacks... their intel was so shit that when some ISIS idiots killed some Americans at Kabul and the Americans opened up on the rest of the crowd and killed 150 of the locals trying to leave the country with them, their next step was to bomb and murder a dozen people they initially claimed were the terrorists behind the attack, but we later found out it was a support worker that was helping the US and western forces in the area and 8 or 9 of his children and friends children.
Drones don't mean shit if you don't have good C4IRSTAR...
In that case they made things worse.
But how about mini - drones ? No not UAV , since all external guidance , in the final analysis , is vulnerable to jamming . And not ATGM either , since mostly suitable for direct attack , not against bunker . But wire- guided , propeller driven drone ? Or quad-copter ? Dropping grenades ? The latter part has been done . Now can a off the shelf UAV be adapted to become wire - guided , with 400 meter range ?
Such small drones generally have tiny payloads and their slow flight speed means over time as enemy forces get more used to drones they will just be too vulnerable. A shotgun is effective to 20-30m depending on the load... having a couple of experienced skeet shooters and small drones might not be effective... with buckshot a shotgun is very effective in fighting in built up areas at close range.
You can actually get drones that are launched from 40mm grenade launchers that are fired up 500m or more into the air and then a camera comes down on a parachute which the operator can use to see over cover around their position... I would say a custom designed RPG disposable launch tube could be used to launch drones that could carry enough fuel to loiter for an hour over your position or fly over enemy positions and then come back to be refuelled and reused with a new launch rocket perhaps.
There are research now for inertial ( star - light ) navigation
Already used in very high flying missiles...