Monday, January 15, 2007

Artillery 2.0

The US Army is attempting to make "dumb" artillery shells smart via the addition of a nothing more than a screw-in nose cone.

The contract will be substantial because the precision guidance kits will be made to fit into all existing 155-millimeter artillery shells used by the United States and NATO. The artillery rounds -- 3 feet tall and 10 inches wide -- would receive new screw-on tips, which are actually precision guidance kits that provide new satellite-guidance capability, wings that deploy mid-flight and mini brakes that can help steer the shells in the desired direction. The idea is precision targeting, even though the target may be 20 miles away.

The retrofitting of existing shells is expected to be much less expensive than the manufacture of precision shells.

BAE programs director Jim Unterseher has said that it costs less than $5,000 to manufacture a guided "screw-on" fuze for an existing artillery round, while it would cost "tens of thousands" to make a single "smart" round from scratch.

The advantages are obvious- more precise artillery will mean less rounds needed to harm the enemy and less chance of collateral damage.

No comments: