Printer Friendly
The Free Library
22,728,043 articles and books

Guided Submunitions.

A number of smart submunitions have recently been developed for use from either aircraft or from artillery-launched rounds. Most tend to operate along the same principle, but the latter category (examined further on) requires a complex separation system and must withstand the crushing G forces experienced during firing.

Submunitions are now generally required to incorporate their own autonomous target detection and acquisition device, which is the reason why they are often referred to as "smart weapons". Generally of the size and shape of a large preserves can -- hence the name "Skeet skeet: see shooting. " used by Textron -- they tend to function along the same basic principle, whereby the "can" -- warhead cum sensor -- is tossed into the air in such a way that it wobbles. At a given height (as opposed to altitude) its downwards-looking sensor is thus forced to look at the ground in a closing spiral pattern until it meets a pattern that matches what it was programmed for. The warhead, generally a shaped charge (but an explosively formed penetrator An explosively formed penetrator (EFP), also known as an explosively formed projectile, a self-forging warhead, or a self-forging fragment, is a special type of shaped charge designed to penetrate armour effectively at stand-off distances.  is an alternative) is instantly triggered. This is the case of the air launched Textron Sensor Fuzed Weapon and the Russian SPBE-D on the one hand and the barrel-launched Giat-Bofors Bonus, Giws Smart and Aerojet Sadarm on the other.


The Textron Systems CBU-97A/B A/B Airborne
A/B Afterburner (jet engines)
A/B Air Blast
A/B Answerback
A/B Auto-brake
A/B Air Bus
A/B Afterburning
 Sensor Fuzed Weapon (SFW SFW Science Fiction Weekly
SFW Safe for Work (website links)
SFW Solaris Freeware (open source software delivered in Solaris and supported by Sun)
SFW Sensor Fuzed Weapon
SFW Suitable for Work
) is an SUU-66/B Tactical Munitions mu·ni·tion  
War materiel, especially weapons and ammunition. Often used in the plural.

tr.v. mu·ni·tioned, mu·ni·tion·ing, mu·ni·tions
To supply with munitions.
 Dispenser with a warload of ten BLU-108/B submunitions, each with four Skeet warheads. The Skeet is a squat, cylindrical sensor-fuzed warhead with an infrared sensor, a safety and arming device, a thermal battery and a copper liner. The SFW with its load of 40 smart warheads can be released at heights up to 20 000 feet and at speeds up to 1200 kilometres per hour.

After being dropped from the SFW, each BLU-108 is slowed and turned to the vertical by a parachute. An altimeter-activated rocket motor then reverses the descent and spins the submunition Any munition that, to perform its task, separates from a parent munition. , which throws out the four Skeets. Spring-loaded arms impart a wobble to the Skeet, so that it spins about an inclined axis. Its dual-spectrum infrared seeker thus scans a circle that moves outward from the BLU-108, the scan diameter initially increasing as the Skeet climbs, and then decreasing as it falls. On detecting the heat of a tank, the Skeet fires an explosively-formed projectile at the top of the vehicle.

The SFW entered low rate initial production (LRIP LRIP Low Rate Initial Production
LRIP Limited Rate Initial Production
LRIP Logistics Readiness Improvement Program
) in 1992, and the first full-rate production contract was signed in 1996. The system attained initial operational capability The first attainment of the capability to employ effectively a weapon, item of equipment, or system of approved specific characteristics that is manned or operated by an adequately trained, equipped, and supported military unit or force. Also called IOC.  with the US Air Force in 1997.

The SFW P3I P3I Preplanned Product Improvement
P3I Planning, Performance, Process & Innovative Solutions
P3I Pre Planned Product Improvement
 (pre-planned product improvement) variant is being developed to increase the number of kills per pass by improving performance in the face of countermeasures, reducing false sensor alarms, optimising warhead aimpoint and increasing target area coverage. The first test was carried out in April at Eglin AFB AFB
acid-fast bacillus

AFB Acid-fast bacillus, also 1. Aflatoxin B 2. Aorto-femoral bypass
, Florida, with the release of the new weapon from an F-16. The SFW P3I scored four times more hits on the targets, and immobilised more than twice as many vehicles as the current SFW, which already exceeds its operational requirement. The area covered by the SFW P3I was almost twice as great as that for the in-service SFW.

Six BLU-108s form the warload of the GPS/INS-guided AGM-154B version of the Raytheon Jsow, a swing-wing gliding dispenser. The BLU-108 can also be delivered by means of the Raytheon Tomahawk and Land Attack Standard Missile, and the Boeing Slam-ER.

The Skeet warhead (with a tantalum rather than copper liner) is also used in the Wam (Wide Area Munition). Known as the Hornet in the US Army, it may be emplaced by a variety of means, including airdrop air·drop  
A delivery, as of supplies or troops, by parachute from aircraft.

tr. & intr.v. air·dropped, air·drop·ping, air·drops
To drop or be dropped from an aircraft.

Noun 1.
. After landing, legs are deployed to erect the mine, and then acoustic sensors are extended. The acoustic and seismic system detects, classifies and tracks any nearby target, and fires the Skeet over it. Recent Hornet improvements include remote on/off control, so that friendly troops can pass safely through the mined area. Another modification is an embedded GPS receiver, so, that the controller can locate all munitions precisely. It can be programmed to attack a specific tank in a convoy.

A further weapon based on the Tactical Munitions Dispenser (TMD TMD Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
TMD Theater Missile Defense
TMD Transmembrane Domain
TMD Temporomandibular Disorder
TMD Tuned Mass Damper
TMD Toshiba Matsushita Display Technology Co., Ltd.
) is the CBU-87/B Combined Effects Munition (CEM CEM

contagious equine metritis.

CEM selective medium
chocolate agar made with Eugon agar and 5% horse blood; used to cultivate Taylorella equigenitalis.
), which houses 202 BLU-97/B Combined Effects Bomblets (CEB) and an optional nose-mounted FZU-39/B proximity sensor. This allows dispensing at a height that can be pre-set while the CEM is still on the aircraft, as an alternative to using a time-delayed break-up. The CEB combines a shaped charge to defeat armour, a fragmentation case, and a zirconium zirconium (zərkō`nēəm), metallic chemical element; symbol Zr; at. no. 40; at. wt. 91.22; m.p. about 1,852°C;; b.p. 4,377°C;; sp. gr. 6.5 at 20°C;; valence +2, +3, or +4.  ring for incendiary effects. The CEM entered LRIP in 1983.

The Gator Weapon System is known as the CBU-89/B to the US Air Force and as the CBU-78/B to the US Navy. The SUU-65 TMD in this case contains 94 minelets, including BLU-91/B anti-armour devices with magnetic influence fuzes.

Another way to deploy anti-armour mines from aircraft is the Alliant Tech-systems Volcano, which can be fitted to the side of a helicopter such as the Sikorsky UH-60. The Volcano consists of the M139 mine delivery system with a dispenser control unit and four launcher racks, all four with mountings for 40 M87 canisters, each housing six minelets. The Volcano control unit generates firing signals according to the speed of the launch vehicle and the desired minefield density. The mines receive their arming signals and self-destruct time after being ejected from the canisters.


Believed to be the first smart weapon of its kind to have been put into service in the world, the Bazalt SPBE-D -- RBK-500 cluster combination operates similarly to the Skeet, but ejection of 15 submunitions occurs directly from the cluster. They then descend under parachute, and use a dual-spectrum infrared sensor.


A completely different type is the Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control (LM MFC) is a Lockheed Martin business unit based in the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie, Texas. The unit's offensive and defensive arsenal includes air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, naval rockets and missiles, fire control and sensor  Locaas (Low-Cost Autonomous Attack System), which is currently in the middle of a three-year advanced technology demonstration (ATD) programme for the US Air Force. The Locaas is one of the options in the Miniature Munitions Capability (MMC) programme, in which the Air Force is scheduled to complete its analysis of alternatives as these lines are printed. If selected to go forward, it might enter service as early as 2007.

A winged vehicle, it made its first flight powered by a Hamilton Sunstrand TJ-50 turbojet turbojet: see turbine.

Jet engine in which a turbine-driven compressor draws in and compresses air, forcing it into a combustion chamber into which fuel is injected.
 in December 1997. However, reports indicate that a Technical Directions (TDI) engine may be used if Locaas is chosen for production.

The Locaas has GPS/INS GPS/INS Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System  navigation, a ladar seeker that produces a three-dimensional target image and automatic target-recognition software. It can, for example, reject a tank if programmed to search for a Scud missile launcher, but can subsequently return and destroy the tank if it finds itself running low on fuel. Target unit price is $ 33 000 in FY98 values.

It is envisaged that three Locaas would be carried in the Jassm (Joint Air-Surface Stand-off Missile), four in the standard US Air Force SUU-65 dispenser and ten in the proposed Lodis dispenser. Up to 24 Lodis could be carried by a B-1B and around 20 by a B-2A. The Locaas would be carried externally by an F-16 and internally by the F-22 and F-117. It could equally well be delivered by the US Army's Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System (US DoD)
MLRS Multiple Launcher Rocket System
MLRS Marine Corps Long-Range Study (US DoD) 
) or Army Tactical Missile System (Atacms).

The initial requirement called for a "range" of 185 kilometres ("range" presumably pre·sum·a·ble  
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster.
 meaning radius) and the ability to search an area of 50 square kilometres at 100 kilometres from the launch point.

The most interesting features of the Locaas is probably its Alliant Techsystems multi-mode warhead. This is basically an explosively-formed penetrator warhead, but (according to the points at which it is detonated and the sequencing) it can be made to function in a long rod mode for close-in heavy armour targets, or in an aerostable slug mode for heavy armour at longer stand-off distances, or in a multi-fragment mode for lightly armoured vehicles and soft targets such as radars.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Armada International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

 Reader Opinion




Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Armada International
Date:Dec 1, 2000
Previous Article:Fixed-wing Weapons.
Next Article:Ground-based Weapons.

Related Articles
Artillery Guided Submunitions.
Army pondering alternatives for tactical missile payload.
Far reaching propositions: sea-based, barrel-launched guided projectiles and conventionally armed cruise missiles are already demonstrating...
The emerging campaign against cluster bombs and explosive remnants of war.
Dispensers and submunitions: in dealing with groups of armoured vehicles, some form of dispenser may be employed to provide area coverage by means of...
Tank barrel-launched systems: Russia, then the Soviet Union, has largely pioneered the firing of missiles from within a tank, in other words, by...
More bang for your buck--warhead technology.
Punch from the air.
The drone's sting.
Fatal Footprint: The Global Human Impact of Cluster Munitions.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters