SO/LIC 2019: Industry to demonstrate loitering missiles for USSOCOM
US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is gearing up to host a series of loitering missile demonstrations conducted by industry, according to command officials.
Six companies are slated to participate – three in May at the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah and three more next year, said army Col. Joel Babbitt, USSOCOM’s SOF Warrior program executive officer.
The ‘capability demonstrations’ for the Precision Strike Systems program will help build an industrial base for such missiles and give companies a chance to show they can deliver what they advertised, Babbitt said on 6 February after speaking at the 30th annual Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC) Symposium & Exhibition in Arlington, Virginia.
Jim Smith, USSOCOM’s acquisition executive, said at the SO/LIC conference that his command is interested in loitering missiles that a small team could use to strike a target at the desired time while causing little collateral damage.
‘We’re looking for a munition that can loiter because I want to be able to bring it down on a target exactly when that fleeting target presents itself,’ he said. ‘I want to hit that target very precisely, and I want to leave the area around it unscathed.’
USSOCOM would prefer that the missile be ‘manpackable’ but would also be open to a missile that could be fired from a ground vehicle or small watercraft, according to Smith.
Also at the conference, Smith said that USSOCOM’s Dry Combat Submersible program ‘is doing extremely well.’ The first of three vessels the command is buying is in the Atlantic Ocean, heading from the United Kingdom, where it was built, to Florida for testing with navy seals.
For future versions of the small manned underwater vehicle, Smith wants to change how the government develops requirements so they focus less on the vessels and more on the information they would collect.
‘The next time we do a dry combat submersible, it’s going to be, “hey, I need a sensor that happens to operate under the water,”’ he said. ‘It fundamentally changes our design paradigm if we think of this thing as a computer that happens to operate underneath the surface of the water.’
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