The Miss Launcher is a unique version of the standard missile launcher model. It is more comparable to a grenade launcher than a missile launcher, as it has an arcing flight similar to the Fat Man. Standard missiles fired from this weapon do not fly; instead, the missile-tube itself has been converted to propel them pneumatically. In doing so, both the missile's explosive warhead and unused solid rocket fuel are free to detonate together, increasing the missile's explosive damage potential by 30%. A side-effect is this also reduces the chances of giving away your position if fired from hiding, as compared with a regular missile launcher. If used without the aid of V.A.T.S. it is excellent practice for the Fat Man, as you won't kill yourself with a badly placed shot, most of the time.
The damage bonus comes at the cost of range; the Miss Launcher's drastically underpowered propulsion system renders it incapable of hitting targets farther than 30 feet away, half the range possible with thrown grenades. Because of the nature of the weapon's sharp ballistic trajectory, it can be an extremely challenging weapon to aim in real-time. Using this weapon outside of V.A.T.S. isn't recommended. However, even in V.A.T.S., this weapon is horribly inaccurate. The game fails to take into account projectile arc, meaning any shots fired usually fall completely short at medium ranges. In conclusion, practice and experience will help a player determine when to fire real-time or when to use V.A.T.S.
Unlike regular missiles, missiles fired from Miss Launcher will not explode on impact, and instead are triggered like grenades, i.e. when hitting a target in V.A.T.S. or after a specific time limit. The Explosives skill determines how long it will take for the missile to explode after hitting the ground. A 100 explosives skill will cause the missile to explode a few milliseconds after landing.
Miss Launcher is located in a weapons storage room inside Fort Independence, near the center of the map on the bottom floor of the lower levels. You will always have to pick the lock on the front door (unless you pickpocket Defender Rockfowl, Defender Morgan, or Protector Casdin), also, it should be noted that if you pick the lock without being seen, you will lose Karma, but once inside, no one will attack you so long as you remain friendly, and no one minds if you help yourself to whatever you want. However, if you don't want to have to fight everyone inside it is recommended that the player completes the unmarked Outcast Collection Agent quest up to the point when Casdin will trust the player. Once you gain the trust of the Outcasts, you can kill the three outside to get all the stuff you gave in back. This will also give you the key to enter Fort Independence. This is not recommended, however, for players who plan to use Protector Casdin for equipment repair purposes (See his article). Once inside you need to go down to the lower level. There are two entrances into the basement. The first way is through an entrance outside that leads directly to the lower level. It, like the main entrance, is a hard locked door. The other way is to go through the main entrance and then proceed down to the lower level from the ground level. However, the second method will lead to a locked door that can only be opened with a hard locked terminal. The password is in the desk next to the door if the player does not wish to or cannot hack it. Once through the door, the two Outcasts guarding it will usually be armed with a Ripper and a laser rifle. Deal with them (if they're hostile), and then go to the research room with several computers in it. In here go to the computer in the corner; there is a file on the computer called "Research - Missile Launcher". Read the note and you will learn that the Miss Launcher is in the storage room (lockpick level 75 needed). You can get the key from one of the footlockers in the bedroom (room full of beds). (The other computers in the research room tell you about the other projects e.g. Enclave power armor, minigun, plasma rifle)
(Note: you can also fire at the door once or twice to alert those inside, once the door is opened you can charge in before the Outcasts have a chance to close the door behind them)
Research terminal reports in Fort Independence reveal that Outcast researcher J.J. Browne attempted to modify the Miss Launcher to increase its accuracy. After numerous failed attempts, the ultimately broken Miss Launcher was thrown into storage until someone else could be tasked with working on it.
It is unclear as to why Browne would have tried to make the launcher more accurate in such a strange way as making it air powered (which does the opposite), so either he was trying to make it into an accurate mortar (which it also isn't) or the missile launchers (more are noted on the computer) that he was given were already defective, likely damaged during the Great War. He may have been trying to modify the weapon to soft-launch missiles (Pneumatically propel the missile into the air before its motor ignites and travels to its destination) as doing so increases the launcher's durability and allows it to be used in close quarters. Conventional launchers have the issue of potentially fatal backblast, which limits their use in areas like buildings or hallways.
If you only have one missile in your inventory and you fire this weapon, and the shot lands close enough to you, you can actually pick up the fired missile (has 1 weight and—value). You can only do this if you only have one shot because it won't trigger the reload animation which does not allow you to pick up items.
A side-effect of the Miss Launcher's pneumatic propulsion and delayed fuse is its unique underwater behavior; when fired at a body of water, functionally it becomes the equivalent of a torpedo launcher.
xbox360ps3 Sometimes at close range, V.A.T.S. is exited before the missile detonates, negating the benefit of temporary 1/10 damage and potentially killing you. This close-range bug may also lead to freezing issues, the controller will remain rumbling and the console will freeze. [verified]