Missile developers in the U.S. are working on new weapons that combine the effects and capabilities of several previous munitions into single weapons, with the aim of significantly reducing the number of types held in the inventory and dramatically increasing the in-flight flexibility of aircraft and helicopters compared with current armament options.
Raytheon’s growing portfolio of precision munitions is to expand with the development of a new smart missile to arm small UAVs that are current unable to carry weapons. Initial flight tests have produced good results, and the small tactical missile (STM) is gearing up for more advanced testing in the coming weeks.
With the program having been declassified last November, the Rafael’s Spike NLOS weapon is being seen here for the first time at a trade show. The latest member of the successful missile family to emerge has an effective range of 25 km, more than three times that of the Spike-ER. The NLOS weapon is easily distinguishable from other Spike variants by having much longer folding wings.
Lockheed Martin last month secured a $30 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for more “paveway” II laser-guided bomb (LGB) kits. Why the use of lower-case to describe this well known “smart” weapon, many thousands of which have been dropped from Western combat aircraft? It’s because LM and Raytheon compete as a dual-source suppliers of the LGB kits, and the two corporations are in a long-running legal dispute over terminology.
A new “smart” bomb employing three guidance modes is entering service with the UK Royal Air Force. The Raytheon Paveway IV is a 500-pound laser-guided weapon that can alternately be guided by GPS, with backup from an INS system if GPS is not available for any reason (such as jamming).
Saab’s civil aircraft missile protection system (CAMPS) is on course for delivery to the launch customer toward the end of the year.
Intended to arm the ‘Euro-canards’ (Gripen, Rafale and Typhoon) and possibly integrate into the RAF’s JSFs, the MBDA Meteor ramjet-powered missile is taking giant strides towards service entry. Recent successful guided firings have paved the way for trials of production-representative missiles, keeping the program on track for an in-service date of 2013.
The statistics are sobering: as many as 700,000 anti-aircraft missiles for man-portable air defense systems (Manpads) have been manufactured since the 1970s. Up to 7,000 missiles may be outside state control, possibly in the hands of terrorists. Since these weapons began proliferating in the 1960s, there have been some 35 documented Manpads attacks on civil aircraft.
On March 25, 1911, the worst factory fire in the history of New York City erupted in the three floors occupied by the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in a tall building on the northwest corner of Washington and Greene streets in Greenwich Village. The fire began in the cutting room on the eighth floor shortly after 4:30 p.m. and, fed by thousands of pounds of cotton fabric, it spread rapidly.
The Boeing joint direct attack munition (JDAM) is being released to Saudi Arabia, which could acquire as many of 900 of these tail kits that add “smart” GPS guidance to “dumb” bombs. The weapons are intended for the Royal Saudi Air Force fleet of F-15S Strike Eagles. Israel objected to the sale.