Air Force to enable smart weapons to track and kill sources of electronic warfare (EW) jamming
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., 13 Nov. 2014. The U.S. Air Force is developing special versions of two smart munitions that track and attack sources of electronic warfare (EW) jamming directed to throw the weapons off from their intended targets.
Officials of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., announced a $9.8 million contract late Wednesday to Scientific Applications & Research Associates Inc. (SARA) in Cypress, Calif., for a Home-on-Jam demonstration of smart weapons already in the Air Force inventory.
The weapons involved in the demonstration are the GPU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) and the GBU-39 Small-Diameter Bomb (SDB). SARA engineers will integrate the company's Home-on-Jam seeker into the JDAM and SDB-I smart munitions.
The goal is to support government-conducted flight tests to demonstrate the precision accuracy guidance capability against radio frequency threat targets in realistic conditions.
The JDAM and SDB smart munitions use radio waves to guide the weapons to their targets, which an enemy can jam to prevent the munitions from hitting their intended targets. JDAM uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite-navigation system, while the SDB uses radar as well as electro-optical sensors for precision guidance.
In the presence of jamming, however, a Home-on-Jam seeker would follow the source of the RF jamming either to destroy the jammer or force an enemy to turn the jamming system off.
Home-on-Jam systems work in a similar way to the U.S. High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM), which is designed to destroy enemy radar sites by homing in on the radar's RF emissions.
Home-on-Jam capability already is integrated on other weapons like the U.S. Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), which can home in directly on sources of radar jamming if the jamming is too powerful to allow the missiles to find and track their targets normally. Home-on-Jam weapons use enemy jammers as beacons that announce the presence and location of the hostile transmitter.
The JDAM is a guidance kit that converts unguided dumb bombs into all-weather smart munitions with an inertial guidance system coupled to a GPS receiver. JDAM-equipped bombs have explosive payloads ranging from 500 to 2,000 pounds.
The SDB is a 250-pound precision-guided glide bomb that adds a tri-mode radar, infrared, and semi active laser seeker to the munition's original inertial and GPS guidance that works similarly to the JDAM. The SDB is intended to enable U.S. combat aircraft carry a higher number of bombs.
SARA engineers previously have worked with the Air Force Research Lab to develop the Geolocation on GPS Jammers (GOGJ) system to locate GPS jammers with a low-cost solution. SARA’s GOGJ system detects and precisely 3D geolocates several GPS jammers without prior knowledge of the threat and reports their locations to users on a map display.
The GOGJ seeker technology has been rendered into a flight-tested prototype for a home-on-GPS jammer mission. On this contract SARA will do the work at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., and should be finished by October 2016.