SUAV precision strike capability demonstrated
General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems has announced that along with the US Army Armament Research and Development Engineering Center (ARDEC), it has successfully demonstrated a GPS-guided munition for use on small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (SUAVs).
According to the company, recent testing was conducted in which three mortars were launched from a UAV at altitudes of approximately 7,000 ft and guided to within seven meters of a GPS-identified target grid. The three separate engagements used a Tiger Shark UAV launching an 81mm mortar equipped with General Dynamics' Roll Control Fixed Canard (RCFC) control system and an ARDEC-developed fuzing solution.
The tests were part of the Air Drop Mortar (ADM) programme, which is designed to meet the needs of the US Army, Marine Corps and Special Forces for a rapid target response capability. According to the company, the ADM uses existing mortar inventory to provide a low-cost, lightweight weapon system with proven energetics. The RCFC guidance kit, with an innovative flight-control and GPS-based guidance and navigational system, adds precision-strike capability to existing mortars. The nose-mounted guidance kit replaces existing mortar fuzes and has been successfully demonstrated on multiple mortar calibres in both air-drop and tube-launch applications. The kit provides a common, multi-platform Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) and integrated weapon system for UAVs.
Mark Schneider, general manager of General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems' Seattle operations, said: ‘This effort demonstrated a low-cost, tactical version of a GPS strike weapon for UAV platforms. Together with ARDEC, we have demonstrated a weapon in the 10-pound class for tactical UAVs that can be used to quickly engage and defeat targets. Advancements in GPS targeting and data-link technology provide a built-in growth path for this demonstrated technology.’
Tony Sebasto, senior associate for Munitions at ARDEC, added: ‘The ADM programme with General Dynamics provided a platform to successfully demonstrate and mature subsystems including communication links, munition deployment, guidance and control and fuzing. The utilization of existing mortar production components, along with demonstrated guidance and control and fuzing, gives the US warfighter an option for a very affordable and very capable precision strike weapon.’
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