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New Precision Guided Missiles and Munitions for Urban Warfare and in A2/AD Environment

Cities have become the new battleground and Hybrid or Urban Warfare the greatest threat being waged by ISIS to Boko Haram to Hamas to  Ukraine rebels.Urban warfare is the only way the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria will be defeated. Boko Haram is carrying out its urban terror campaign against the Nigerian Army and its allies. IDF’s ground forces is preparing to deal with an enemy that moves on foot, appears and vanishes quickly, is armed with deadly shoulder-held missiles and operates in an urban setting, filled with noncombatants. Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris also provide glimpses of this new kind of conflict that will be more frequent and more complicated.

 

New air, ground and sea based platforms and munitions  are desired having capabilities of accurately engaging targets in urban terrain with low collateral damage. The size of projectiles and weapons need to be miniaturized so that they can be employed in helicopters and small UAVs, while enhancing their lethality and engagement ranges to defeat even defeat concealed targets. Precision Guided Munitions (PGMs), and other so-called “smart” weapons, have established themselves as a key military technology against targets whose destruction requires a high degree of precision. Precision strikes depend on accurate navigation throughout the entire course of a missile’s flight. GPS is a key enabling technology for existing and future military precision navigation applications.

 

US Army is asking for $3 billion worth of missiles and precision-guided munitions in the 2018 budget, and have submitted to Congress an additional $2.3 billion munitions wish list as part of the military’s “unfunded requirements” the services send to Capitol Hill every year. The budget also would accelerate the development of a new “long-range precision fires” missile for deep-strike offensive attacks. The Army is seeking $102 million to build two prototypes by 2019. This program is viewed as essential to counter Russian missiles that currently out-range U.S. weapons.

 

Information technology advances are enabling, new generation of guided munitions that allow extremely precise position location and navigation capability as well as miniaturization of the fuses, sensors and guidance systems, while reducing their costs. Artillery projectiles and tactical rockets are being miniaturized, with precision guidance along with long range and accuracy. Guidance Kits, and their components including the antenna structure, are an essential part of this technological evolution. This is especially important as they are both retrofitted to existing weapons platforms, or designed into new platforms, with the challenging and often conflicting requirements for smaller, lighter, more rugged, and lower cost.

Raytheon’s Small-Diameter Bomb II Completes Wind Tunnel Tests

 Raytheon, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy have begun SDB II™ bomb integration activities on the F-35, F/A-18E/F and F-15E aircraft. The 250 pound GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb gives American fighters the ability to carry more high-precision GPS-guided glide bombs, without sacrificing punching power against fortified targets. Raytheon’s GBU-53/B SDB-II is 7″ in diameter around the tri-mode (laser, IIR, radar) seeker, with a clamshell protective door that comes off when the bomb is dropped.

 

Poor weather and battlefield obscurants continue to endanger warfighters as adversaries rely on these conditions to escape attacks. This has established the requirement for an all-weather solution that enhances warfighters’ capabilities when visibility is limited. The seeker works in three modes to provide maximum operational flexibility: millimeter wave radar to detect and track targets through weather, imaging infrared for enhanced target discrimination and semi-active laser that enables the weapon to track an airborne laser designator or one on the ground.

 

This powerful, integrated seeker seamlessly shares targeting information among all three modes, enabling the weapon to engage fixed or moving targets at any time of day and in all-weather conditions. The SDB II bomb’s tri-mode seeker can also peer through battlefield dust and debris, giving the warfighter a capability that’s unaffected by conditions on the ground or in the air. The weapon can fly more than 45 miles to strike mobile targets, reducing the amount of time that aircrews’ spend in harm’s way. Its small size enables the use of fewer aircraft to take out the same number of targets as previous, larger weapons that required multiple jets. The SDB II bomb’s size has broader implications for the warfighter and taxpayers, as it means fewer attacks with less time spent flying dangerous missions.

 

The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy have begun SDB II bomb integration activities on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. Raytheon will complete integration on the F-15E Strike Eagle in 2017.

Lockheed Martin Receives $31 Million U.S. Air Force Contract for Paveway II Plus Laser Guided Bomb Kits

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract worth $131m by the US Air Force to provide kits for the Paveway II laser-guided bomb (LGB). Beginning in the first quarter of 2018, Lockheed will produce guidance kits and airfoil groups for 2,000lb GBU-10 and 500lb GBU-12 LGBs, as part of the deal. The GBU-10 Paveway II is an American Paveway-series laser-guided bomb, based on the Mk 84 general-purpose bomb, but with laser seeker and wings for guidance. Introduced into service c. 1976. Used by USAF, US Navy, US Marine Corps, Royal Australian Air Force and various NATO air forces.

 

Laser-guided bombs are often labeled as “smart bombs”, despite requiring external input in the form of laser designation of the intended target. According to Raytheon’s fact sheet for the Paveway 2,  deliveries of guided munitions will yield a circular error probable (CEP) of only 3.6 feet (1.1 m), compared to a CEP of 310 feet (94 m) for 99 unguided bombs dropped under similar conditions.

 

Many of these early laser guided weapons did not lack accuracy but suffered from vulnerability to weather conditions and in
particular low-hanging clouds. Starting in the late 1990’s, Raytheon along with the U.S. Air Force worked to integrate GPS guidance into the Paveway III. This new weapon was called the Enhanced Paveway with a capability to penetrate low-hanging cloud cover, and get closer to the target before activating the laser. Both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have developed GPS-guided versions of the GBU-10. Lockheed Martin calls its version the DMLGB (Dual-Mode LGB) GPS/INS, and the U.S. Navy issued Lockheed Martin a contract in 2005 for further development of the weapon system.

 

Modern high performance PGMs typically employ multiple technologies to improve their robustness and accuracy. For example, the Raytheon Enhanced Paveway III Dual Mode Laser Guided Bomb (DMLGB) combines the strength of laser technology together with GPS and an Inertial Navigation System (INS). The INS has one obvious advantage over GPS – it does not require external signals, and hence, is more resistant to jamming. On the other hand, INS accuracy degrades over time due to the cumulative errors of the inertial sensors.

 

The kit consists of a MAU-209C/B computer control group containing the electronic guidance system and an airfoil group to provide lift and stability to the weapons in standard GBU-10 MK-84 (2,000 lb.), GBU-12 MK-82 (500 lb.) and GBU-16 MK-83 (1,000 lb.) series configurations.

Smarter precision guided munitions

New generation of smaller and smarter Air-delivered munitions is starting to appear that provides an economically viable ground-attack and low-collateral-damage capability, without compromising the platform’s endurance in the air. An example of this is the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB). Using a combination of GPS-aided inertial navigation and infrared/radar seekers, the SDB can attack a wide range of above ground targets relatively cheaply. At 250 lbs., four SDBs can be carried in place of one standard 2,000 lb. bomb.

Textron Systems has developed a new lightweight, precision-guided glide bomb Fury. The Fury is a small 27-inch, 13-pound GPS and laser-guided bomb engineered to fly and fire from medium and large drones, and designed to be effective against moving targets.

 

MBDAs, GBU-44 Viper Strike munition, offers a lightweight, low-collateral-damage weapon with only a 1kg warhead with semi-active laser guidance that can be launched from the tactical class MQ-5 Hunter platform. It has been widely used in Afghanistan and Pakistan due to its ability to be incorporated into smaller tactical UAVs, its capability as a high precision glide-bomb weapon and for strikes where collateral damage must be kept to a minimum.The small nature of the Viper Strike warhead makes it an ideal weapon for targeting exposed insurgents and their firing posts, as well as unarmoured vehicles with low collateral effects.

 

Spike a 5-pound weapon, 2 ½ inches diameter, $50,000 cost and with parts off the shelf, can be air launched from UAV, or mounted on a ship for use against small swarms of boat or fired from the shoulder on the battlefield. Developed by the Navy, it is guided by a miniature camera and is described as “smallest guided missile in the world”. It is designed to shoot against soft targets, stationary or in motion like people, lightly armoured vehicles, structures, boats and small planes, and to minimize the chances of collateral damage.

Raytheon’s miniature Pike munitions

Raytheon has completed successful test firing of its new Pike 40mm precision-guided munitions from a standard tube grenade launcher during flight tests at Mile High Resources in Texas, US. Both rounds are said to have landed within the targeted impact area after flying more than 2,300 yards.Claimed to be the world’s only hand-launched, precision-guided munition, Pike can travel one-and-a-half miles and hit within five yards or less of a target, minimising collateral damage.

 

“This new guided munition can provide the warfighter with precision, extended-range capability never before seen in a hand-held weapon on the battlefield.” Raytheon Advanced Land Warfare Systems director J R Smith said: “Pike uses a digital, semi-active laser seeker to engage both fixed and slow-moving, mid-range targets.Pike weighs less than 2lbs, measures 16.8in in length, and can be fired from a conventional, single-shot grenade launcher, such as the M320 enhanced grenade launching module, specifically the H&K M320 and the FNH Mk13.

 

 

The miniaturised laser-guided minition’s rocket motor is able to ignite eight to ten feet after launch and is nearly smokeless for reduced launch signature. Further Pike upgrades include the ability to launch from platform-mounted launchers on class I and II, unmanned aircraft systems, all-terrain vehicles, ground mobility vehicles, common remotely-operated weapons station and small boats.

Raytheons Excalibur

Excalibur lb has Weight of 48 kg (106 lb), Length: 99.6 cm (39.20 in), GPS/INS guided and 155mm caliber artillery projectile provides a long range 40 km (25 mi), and extremely precise fire support. Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System turns a standard unguided 2.75-inch (70 millimeter) rocket into a precision laser-guided rocket to give warfighters a low-cost surgical strike capability. It can be integrated into helicopters and aircrafts and was deployed in Afghanistan.

 

Future of PGM’s

Mark Gunzinger and Bryan Clark, authors of a new report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments have examined the future of precision strike warfare. An enemy with effective countermeasures against platforms — generally aircraft or ships — or individual PGMs will reduce the effectiveness of precision strike weapons, Gunzinger noted. A US military accustomed to operating in a permissive environment, where “pretty much 100 percent of its PGMs would arrive on target” and where strike planners often think of how many targets can be hit per aircraft sortie, might see a significant drop in effectiveness, to maybe 50 percent.

 

The report also recommends initiatives that take advantage of existing and emerging weapons technologies to increase the U.S. military’s strike effectiveness against enemies with PGM defenses, to include :

 

Short-Range, Standoff Attack PGMs DoD should shift from a munitions inventory that now primarily consists of short-range, direct attack PGMs to a PGM mix that is weighted toward short-range standoff weapons that would allow strike platforms to avoid lethal point defenses protecting targets. This may require DoD to develop new standoff PGMs and possibly modify existing direct attack PGMs with small, inexpensive engines to extend their ranges after launch.

 

Smaller, Multi-Mission Weapons Smaller PGMs that are able to attack a wider range of targets can increase the salvo size and mission flexibility of platforms—particularly ships—that cannot easily replenish their weapons magazines. The Navy’s current PGM portfolio is predominantly composed of single-mission (e.g., strike, anti-ship, antiair) weapons with relatively large warheads. This limits the salvo sizes of its ships and inhibits their ability to support changing mission priorities during deployments without first returning to a secure port to replenish or change their weapon loadouts.

 

Survivable PGMs DoD should develop and field stealthy PGMs that can maneuver to avoid threats, and/or fly at hypersonic speeds (above Mach 5) to reduce the time available for defenders to react. Technologies are sufficiently mature to support the development and production of air-launched hypersonic cruise missiles that would create new advantages for the U.S. military against enemies with sophisticated air and missile defenses.

 

PGMs That Can Attack Multiple Targets To increase the strike potential of a single aircraft or missile sortie, DoD should take greater advantage of submunitions and warheads that give PGMs the capability to attack multiple targets per weapon. These “volumetric” weapons could carry smart submunitions individually capable of finding and homing in on targets, or warheads that use High-Power Microwave (HPM) energy to degrade or destroy electronic components inside enemy weapon systems.

 

PGMs for Challenging Targets DoD should increase investment in PGMs that are effective against moving, relocatable, hardened, or deeply buried targets. New PGM guidance systems and sensors will enable PGMs to find and attack moving or relocatable targets with fewer cues from external sources after launch. Advances in materials and high explosives could lead to new PGMs that have the penetrating power of much larger and heavier weapons to service deeply buried or hardened targets.

 

References and Resources are also include:

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2014/january/mfc-01272014-lm-receives-31-million-us-air-force-contract.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GBU-10_Paveway_II

http://www.pctel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Application-Note-Munitions-Guidance.pdf

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-us-armys-answer-russias-growing-military-might-more-21037

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