Discover the next generation of Battlefield guidance systems


The military’s weapon developers strive to create guidance systems that can withstand the jamming efforts and technologically sophisticated countermeasures of enemies in the hopes of deflecting incoming fire. The demand for these systems has been created by the threat environment posed by the main rivals of the United States, such as Russia and China. These countries are known to possess a new generation of interceptor weapons, defenses and advanced countermeasures such as radiofrequency (RF) and infrared signature scrambling and offensive electronic warfare (EW) attacks. The United States needs anti-tank guided missiles, programmable munitions, and other types of precision attacks to “counter” these enemy “countermeasures”.

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation Missile Center have signed a research and development cooperation agreement to refine the targeting accuracy and lethality of these missiles. The initiative could include hardening RF targeting systems for precision guided missiles or rockets. For example, one technique explored is called “frequency hopping”, which means that a weapon’s guidance system can switch from one frequency to another in the event that a particular frequency is scrambled, occupied or disabled by a. enemy. While the spectrum is finite, there are a variety of different electromagnetic frequencies and RF signals that a weapon may be able to jump to to essentially ensure that it maintains its course towards its target despite operating in an environment where an enemy can use jamming and electronics. war to dissuade him. Another evolutionary tactic is “collaborative bombardment”. Take, for example, the Air Force’s Golden Horde program. The program consists of two bombs dropped that autonomously coordinate targeting information via a two-way independent data link. The two bombs help discern targets and adjust the mid-course flight path as needed. Autonomy through artificial intelligence is increasingly used to overcome countermeasures or respond to moving targets and new information. It operates on the basis of an enhanced data link between manned platforms, drones and other weapon systems.

Much of the emerging technology for target acquisition and detection is made possible through smaller form factors and greater power efficiency. Networking and computer processing also play a role. Essentially, various types of computer processing and data sharing allow a weapon to collect targeting details, analyze, or even bounce off a seemingly limitless database within seconds. Computer algorithms based on artificial intelligence could be used to identify relevant points or collect large volumes of sensor data and identify targets at a higher operational rate. This information would then be transmitted to human decision makers.

Additionally, advances in target acquisition can use computer science to compare with previous scenarios and available weapons to ‘recommend’ courses of action or pair sensors with shooters in a situation. tactical. Additionally, laser systems can be used as optical sensors to help identify targets or simply transmit information. Further advancements will likely take the form of a threat database similar to that of the F-35 stealth fighter jet, which can provide a detailed compilation of likely targets in a given geographic area. This on-board computer database, also known as a library, compares data from incoming sensors with fixed or “known” information to identify threats and targets. If GA-EMS were able to enhance this kind of technology via size, weight, and power (SWAP), then smaller weapons like drones might one day have the same capabilities.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National interest. Osborn previously served in the Pentagon as a highly trained expert in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army – Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. Osborn also worked as an on-air presenter and military specialist on national television networks. He has appeared as a visiting military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also holds an MA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Image: Flickr / The Official U.S. Army

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