Low-cost precision strike capability tested on drones

BOTHELL, Wash. 2 Nov. 2012. A GPS-guided munition was fired from a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in recent tests by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems and the U.S. Army Armament Research and Development Engineering Center (ARDEC).

The testing consisted of three separate engagements using a Tiger Shark UAV equipped with an 81mm mortar outfitted with General Dynamics' roll control fixed canard (RCFC) control system and an ARDEC-developed fuzing solution. All 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.  

This effort is to create a low-cost, tactical version of a GPS strike weapon for UAV platforms. The weapon can be used in the 10-pound class for tactical UAVs and is meant to quickly engage and defeat targets.

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Tony Sebasto, senior associate for Munitions at ARDEC, said this technology could offer the U.S. warfighter an option for an affordable and capable precision strike weapon.

Designed to meet the needs of the Army, Marine Corps and Special Forces for a rapid target response capability, the air drop mortar program uses existing mortar inventory to provide a low-cost, lightweight weapon system. The General Dynamics' RCFC guidance kit, with a 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 demonstrated on several mortar calibers 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 unmanned aircraft.

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