Artillery Guided Submunitions.
The Lockheed Martin Locaas discussed earlier could equally well be delivered by the MLRS (Multiple-Launch Rocket System). Another guided submunition developed for MLRS (and Atacms) is the Thomson-CSF TGSM (Terminally-Guided SubMunition), which has millimetre-wave guidance and tandem warheads.
The original MLRS M26 rocket was designed to carry 644 M77 DPICMs, but the AT2 dedicated anti-armour version entered service in 1993, accommodating 28 Dynamit Nobel submunitions. Prime contractor for the anti-armour warhead is Eurorocket Systeme, recently formed from RTG, a joint venture by Diehl and Dasa, and LFK. Dispensed by a time fuze in the nose of the rocket, the AT2 minelet parachutes to the ground, and is turned upright by erecting elements. Its shaped charge is fired upward when contact is made with its wire sensor or if an attempt is made to move it. The feasibility of a new anti-armour warhead for the future MLRS(G) is being studied by Matra BAe Dynamics and Aerospatiale Matra Missiles.
The US Army's Atacms Block II rocket will enter service before the end of this year, armed with 13 Northrop Grumman Bat (Brilliant Anti-Tank) submunitions, combining acoustic sensors and infrared guidance. The Block IIA, scheduled for service in 2003, will carry six Improved Bats. Initially a US Army-only weapon, the Bat is now offered to all MLRS operators.
Several cargo shells with anti-armour guided submunitions have been developed. The leader in this field was the US Army's 155 mm Sadarm developed by Aerojet and Alliant Techsystems. The cargo round dispenses two submunitions, each equipped with a parachute and three sensors (two millimetre-wave and one infrared). The parachute rotates the canted submunition, producing a spiral scan of the ground. An explosively-formed penetrator warhead is fired at the top of the target. The Sadarm entered production in June 1995.
The 155 mm SMArt (Sensor-fuzed Munition for Artillery) has been developed by GIWS, a joint venture by Rheinmetall and Diehl. It delivers two submunitions, which descend rotating on parachutes, a millimetre-wave/imaging infrared sensor system triggering an explosively-formed projectile warhead.
The 155 mm Bonus cargo shell is being developed jointly by Bofors and Giat Industries, with Intertechnique as subcontractor for the infrared sensor. It is time-fuzed to dispense two cylinders, each containing one submunition. Metal fins slow down the rotation and rate of descent of the cylinder, and then (after a fixed time) the submunition is ejected from the cylinder. Two small metal wings produce retardation and impart a nutating rotation. An infrared sensor searches a 30-degree cone, giving a spiral scan of the ground below the weapon, and a self-forging fragment is fired at the top of the target. The Bonus' winglets descend at a higher rate than its counterparts which, together with a higher spin rate, are claimed to be less prone to high speed wind drift and countermeasures. The base-bleed Bonus round has a maximum range of 34 kilometres from a 52-calibre gun, and the submunition warhead has an effective range of 150 metres. On the other hand, the Giat Pelican shell, which is currently under development, should carry five Bonus submunitions to a range of more than 80 kilometres.
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|Date:||Dec 1, 2000|
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